Just log onto any news site or turn on any 24/7 news feed–where are the true leaders?
Several years ago I set foot on a massive aircraft carrier-the USS Harry S. Truman. On this behemoth, there’s a room dedicate to President Truman with a replica of the famous sign the POTUS famously had on his desk–“The Buck Stops Here.” I look at it this way; a leader can delegate anything except responsibility. They can model it, teach it, or share it, but buck passing or passing the buck is the act of attributing another person or group with responsibility for one’s own actions. It is often used to refer to a strategy in power politics whereby a state tries to get another state to deter, or possibly fight, an aggressor state while it remains on the sidelines. Or perhaps today we see this in the massive divide between U.S. Political Parties.
This brings me to four types of leaders that we observe today:
1) Dropouts: Leaders who give up and fail to take responsibility.
2) Cop-Outs: Leaders who make excuses for why they aren’t responsible.
3) Hold-Outs: Leadership who waiver too long to take responsibility.
4) All-Outs: Leaders who own the responsibility and take action.
Just click on President Truman’s name above. He served in a tumultuous time in US history…from the release of nuclear weapons and the end of WWII, labor strikes and economic upheaval, the Marshall Plan, civil right issues, the Cold War, the Berlin Airlift, and the Korean War. And to think, when he left office in 1953, Truman was one of the most unpopular chief executives in history. His job approval rating of 22% in the Gallup Poll of February 1952 was lower than Richard Nixon’s 24% in August 1974, the month that Nixon resigned. American public feeling towards Truman grew steadily warmer with the passing years. As early as 1962, a poll of 75 historians conducted by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Sr. ranked Truman among the “near great” presidents….But “Give ’em Hell Harry” never passed the buck; he made the tough calls and owned them all, and today we look back and admire him for it.
For more on the four leader types mentioned above see John C. Maxwell’s Leadership Bible 2 Chronicles 20:3-4 and the story of Jehoshaphat
Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him.