How the Republican Committee Ticked Me Off – But the Issue wasn’t Them
Some conversations invigorate – others exasperate. The difference is aspiration, values, and talent.
Years ago, the Republican Committee* asked, “If we put you forward for this elected office, what will you do for us?”
Their question ticked me off. Ultimately, I said, “I’ll serve my constituents to the best of my ability.” I’m sure they felt my irritation. They didn’t advance my name.
Reciprocity is irritation apart from aspiration.
“We’ll help you if you help us,” is opportunity for someone who aspires to public office. It’s a ridiculous nuisance to someone who isn’t compelled to get elected.
Leaders dangle aspiration like cheese. “If you want to get ahead, you need to help us get ahead.”
I was willing to serve, but I don’t aspire to elected office.
Autonomy is life to me.
If you value networking, their invitation is an awesome opportunity to develop mutually beneficial relationships. It’s exasperating bondage to me. Actually, it offends me.
Their question was legitimate. It irritated me because I resist imposed obligations.
The leadership question isn’t, “What will you do for us?” The question is, “How will you serve others?”
(Maybe leaders are asking the wrong question.)
My talents are Ideation and Activation. An idea that moves the agenda forward is a thing of beauty to me. Networking isn’t my strong point. I love people, but it’s natural for me to prefer ideas and progress.
Skilled networkers might feel excitement at the Republican Committee’s question. I felt irritation.
Opportunity to choose service invigorates. Imposed obligation exasperates.
Responses during conversations are governed by aspiration, values, and talents.
Skillful leaders expand influence when they speak to the aspiration, values, and talents of others.
How might leaders unintentionally irritate the people they’re talking with?
How might leaders fuel energy in others?
*The Democrat Committee probably would have asked the same question. The current Republican Committee doesn’t know me.
“How might leaders unintentionally irritate the people they’re talking with?”
Usually, by assuming their drivers, inspirations and goals are the same. So often leaders talk about their goals, their vision, their lofty aspiration, and the people they are talking to want to pay the rent or get out of the office and go fishing. To the leader, the widget business is an end in itself, to the workers, the widget business is a means.
Thanks Mitch. The challenge of walking a mile in someone else’s shoes is larger than we might think. It can be difficult to work with people who have divergent motivations. The idea of feeling superior to people comes to mind.
Dan we need more elected leaders like you.
Big egos motivate people to serve themselves more than the people who elected them.
What irritates people–when politicians talk with you but at the same time they looking around the room to see if there is someone more important in the room he/she should go and talk with.
Thanks Paul. You named a big irritant…If people knew how they devalue people by looking someone more important to talk with they would stop doing it… or perhaps they wouldn’t??
I appreciate the candor, Dan. Years ago my father was sworn on to a state commission, I drove us. My immediate take under the Capitol dome was the pomposity and self-interest of some of the politicians in attendance. Where was the sense of service to mission and constituents? It was like a Polaroid shot of the entitlement mentality so quickly adopted by too many of them.
Thanks Robert… too be fair, we probably should add to our conversation that there are generous, humble, servant-leaders in government. 🙂 (Like your father, I would assume.)
Agreed, completely. NC has been blessed with some good ones. I am eager to see a Cabinet meeting next year with ethical, knowledgeable folks who do care!
Never confuse politicians with leaders. The thirst for power whether in politics or business is devoid of leader value.
Perhaps they should have a unifying value based creed.
Here is the beginning of one I signed into as a new sergeant many years ago. The Army NCO Creed.
No one is more professional than I. I am a noncommissioned officer, a leader of Soldiers. As a noncommissioned officer, I realize that I am a member of a time honored corps, which is known as “The Backbone of the Army”. I am proud of the Corps of noncommissioned officers and will at all times conduct myself so as to bring credit upon the Corps, the military service and my country regardless of the situation in which I find myself. I will not use my grade or position to attain pleasure, profit, or personal safety.
Competence is my watchword. My two basic responsibilities will always be uppermost in my mind—accomplishment of my mission and the welfare of my Soldiers
You can read the rest here. https://www.army.mil/values/nco.html
Thanks John. Powerful creed. Know who you are. Do the right thing. Bring credit on others. Thanks for sharing.
Unfortunately you brought politics into this by intentionally, or unintentionally, bashing the Republican Party. I find this offensive especially since the Democrat Party has turned into a band of Marxist thugs!
I will unsubscribe immediately!
Thanks for your note, Milan. No offense intended. I wish you well.
I have had a leader in the past who had a habit of approaching conversations about actions and plans with their mind set and concluded. Yet, in an effort to be a leader they engaged in an exercise of allowing me to express my opinion on the subject. This ‘exercise’ was clear and evident as each conversation ended in actions designed to uphold her belief, not mine.
Thanks Will. It can be very hard for leaders to let go of their own approach and leverage the strengths and skills of team members. But, trying to convince and control everyone is exhausting. While we do this, others become irritants instead of valued team members.
I hope your comment reminds readers that making people feel valued is important.
Oh, Dan, I like your response to what would you do for the party. And, both parties, imho, are variations of the same. Lots of other good comments by your readers. Now, the question becomes — how do we as “citizens” impact the system. The financial rewards can be great for those who get in the game of politics. More powerful than doing the right thing — for those not anchored in timeless wisdom. And the controls over elected officials by the party/s are powerful, and punishing for not playing along. Makes it difficult for a person wanting to do the right thing as an elected official to truly represent their constituents, rather than their own wealth goals. Thanks for sharing your experience and wisdom.
Thanks Alan. I appreciate the reminder that the system is designed to punish dissent. Perhaps there’s something to look for in organizational life.
Wow! You really missed Dan’s point altogether. He wasn’t bashing the Republican party. The word “Republican” wasn’t even necessary to Dan’s story and he even says so at the end.
Thanks Gary. I’m glad you notice that it really wasn’t about Republican or Democrat.
Well stated. It seems that today, the question is “what will you do for ME?” versus what will you do to serve others. Let’s just look at the highest leadership role today: the office of the president. Watch what happens when someone does not do exactly what POTUS wants. Fired. Bullied. Denigrated. and more. That’s not leadership. That’s tyranny.