Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Managerial Leadership: Why the Civilized World is Throwing the War against Terrorism

Part of understanding why the civilized world is throwing the war against terrorism is to realize that we have a shortage of leaders and a surplus of managers. We have allowed our countries to become overgrown by bureaucracies and business interests. Bureaucracies and corporations naturally require managers.

The real constituents of a Western politician have become his business allies and his tools the government bureaucracy. Where leaders looked to the great men of history, today's politicians look to the camera. They learn to say nothing extreme, to moderate their appearance and their rhetoric, to focus on management over leadership, to listen to everyone and promise everyone everything while selectively delivering on their promises.

We have become a civilization of consumers led by managers whose goals are to dole out government services to us while maintaining our approval rating. Government social program giveaways have become our "sales" and the country our Wal-Mart into which we constantly keep paying more and more of our income. We lack for leaders, but we have no shortage of managers ready to put their latest government program special on Social Security, Health Care or Environmentalism on "Sale".

As Western nations expanded into government as a service, the nanny state rose inflated by the endless government programs and the manager became the default form of politician.

What is the difference between a manager and a leader?

First let's define what a leader is. A leader examines a problem, defines a solution and fights to implement it leading from the front. Most world leaders however are only managers, national CEO's looking to keep the lid on the pot and everything from boiling over. They advocate old policies in the guise of the new.

When confronted with a problem, managers will keep pushing "company policy" or formulating consensus solutions, diverting criticism and looking for someone else to blame for the whole mess. Managers may sometimes posture as leaders, but like Olmert, Blair or Bush they often prove inadequate to the task.

Leaders are primary concerned with results and are often unpopular, managers are concerned with the popularity of the people they manage. It's the difference between Winston Churchill and Tony Blair or Theodore Roosevelt and George W. Bush. And much as many people would love to compare these men, they are fundamentally different.

Managers are acceptable enough in every day life, however in a crisis that requires daring steps and unpopular moves, managers are usually dead weight, restraining any "extreme moves" and advocating moderate steps taken in consensus with everyone else. And moderation in response to a crisis is often the next worst thing to doing nothing at all.

Managers and Leaders in the War on Terror

The nature of a leader is the ability to define public sentiment rather than bowing to it. This makes leaders dangerous because they can be undemocratic. A leader is not elected to fulfill a moderate agenda but to rescue a nation from a crisis and to define the way forward.

By contrast a manager looks to appease everyone and smooth out the rough edges. A manager's response to the War on Terror is to make a few piecemeal efforts at fighting terrorism while trying to somehow 'manage' the countries producing terrorism, offering incentives to some, threats to others and hoping to turn the whole thing around with a few conferences about the trouble spots in the region. Where a leader sees an enemy, a manager sees a management problem. But you can't 'manage' evil, you can only defeat it.

In Israel, managers like Barak, Netanyahu and Olmert have been trying for halfway solutions to the problem of the campaign for Israel's destruction. Nowhere is the futility of the manager's approach clearer than when seeing the IDF target a few terrorists and then go back home, leaving the remaining terrorists behind and then heading off for another peace conference.

Managers may sometimes talk like leaders, but they are psychologically incapable of taking the steps necessary to insure victory no matter how big they talk. In the American Civil War, General McClellan was a brilliant manager and utterly incapable of decisively destroying the enemy. His failure only dragged out the war, but as a manager he was psychologically incapable of doing what Grant and Sherman would go on to do, brutally and decisively take the war to the enemy.

The Breakdown

Managers seek consensus. Leaders take decisive steps.

Managers seek to avoid risk employing half-measures and safe solutions. Leaders embrace risk taking daring measures to achieve seemingly impossible outcomes.

Leaders reject compromise where that compromise taints or destroys what they are given to protect and defend. Managers prefer a compromise that serves as an incremental step toward stability.

Leaders know that security is an illusion and that the future is built on unilaterally expanding power and security. Managers seek to hold on to the temporary security above all else and see the future in consensus rather than in unilateral action.

Leaders want a decisive victory. Managers prefer a workable compromise. As long as we are led by managers the civilized world will continue throwing the war against terrorism. We need fewer managers and more leaders, more Roosevelts and less Blairs and McClellans. We don't just need rhetoric, but men whose lives and records show that they live that rhetoric and put their money where their mouth is.


Keli Ata said...

Wonderful, wonderful article! Excellent analysis of the differences between leaders and managers. G-d bring the world more leaders and less self-serving, cowardly managers.

Slightly OT but I was watching the movie The War a few weeks ago. Something stuck out in my mind. Once the US decided to get involved in WW II, a military leader suggested that the most efficacious approach would have been to invade Germany by simply going through France.

For some reason I can't recall, that advice was rejected and the US went through North Africa instead and other backdoor approaches rather than the most simple--France.

It just seemed like the military advisors tried to make the war much more complicated than it had to be.

LemonLimeMoon said...

It seems leadership is a thing of the past. Popularity and polls run things now and politicians do not want to be unpopular in the world.

[France was occupied, so it was not that simple. My Uncle served in North Africa and then into France and into Germany. North Africa was a hot bed of nazis and could not be ignored.
Another good friend was at Anzio and another served in the South Pacific. I have heard their stories .Thankfully they came back to tell them too!]

Keli Ata said...

Politicians no longer see themselves as public servants in the way police officers and firefighters are. Politics and political organizations resemble quasi-organized crime "families," sad to say.

Too many favors exchanged back and forth, and bones thrown to the public to pacify them, us.

Keli Ata said...

Amen. They came back alive.

And toda raba for the correction on North Africa :)

It seems there were virtually no places of refuge for European Jews.

Why didn't the US move heaven and earth to grant them assylum? And why didn't we as a matter of conscience enter the war before Pearl Harbor?

The US knew evidence shows even rejected the Frank family. That beautiful little girl and her family could have survived...

Not that she was more any more important than the other little Jews girls but to many who didn't have families that perished Ann Frank is the litle girl in the red dress so to speak. Well, through her diary and the movies about her last years she has become the little girl in the red dress symbolized in Schindler's List.

(sorry I went OT again).

Sultan Knish said...

DeGaulle or Churchill I believed pushed for North Africa, it's understandable because Normandy was a huge step and lots of mistakes were made even there

effectively the US was invading a continent

North Africa also meant expanded naval bases available to the allies, where before it was just England, Scotland and Northern Ireland

The US had a heavily isolationist stream, you had an anti-war movement on the left and the right that was more powerful than even today backed by top figures like Henry Ford and Lindbergh on the right and the Communists and socialists on the left

As for Jews, no one much cared. Anti-semitism was far more common back then, the Jewish leadership were secularized Reform Jews and wanted to assimilate most of all and FDR and Truman openly despised if not outright hated Jews

Considering how Jews were treated in Europe in the DP camps even after liberation, it's not exactly a shock that Jews were kept out

When a bill was introduced in congress to take in a few thousand Jewish children during the Holocaust, organizations like the DAR shouted it down

Keli Ata said...

Bastards all of them.

(Very, very OT again but...I was researching info for something I just posted and it briefly alludes to a nazi swastika briefly flying for a single day at the TB hospital in Perrysburg, NY, which I believe is in the Adironacks.

Some of the physicians were German, Bavarian, Swiss (from Davos). Could they have been pro-Nazi? Pro-Nazi Germans in upstate NY at the time? I can only speculate and hope they were not, but my gut instinct tells me they may have been.

Still, the mere thought is sickening that such people could seek to heal and harbor such hatred, and in the US.)

Keli Ata said...

I also read that at one of the DP camps Jews were nearly starved to death until a newspaper editor brought it to light and had supplies shipped to them, food and warm clothing.

The US liberated them...only to let them starve and freeze to death...

LemonLimeMoon said...

I think everyone was in a state of shock after the war. The military were worn out beyond reason. US guys served in Europe til as late as 47.. an awful burden.

Jews were warned to leave Germany but could not fathom that anything awful would do done to them. I think the rest of the world could not fathom it either. Germany was a civilized nation and not barbarians . It took the world a bit to process the horror.

Imagine the logistics of running a war, supplying for troops, massive injuries and death, and now you also have to deal with the horror you find. Millions were displaced, lost everything , entire cities in ruin, etc.
I think it would be an almost impossible job to get it all straight.
I mean, look how hard it is for New Orleans to get cleaned up etc and we are talking an entire continent and them some.
The US was strained to the limit with troops and wounded in Europe, Africa, and the Pacific.

Sultan Knish said...

there were a number of german groups, most prominently the german american bund which were openly pro-nazi in america

Sultan Knish said...

in many cases the DP camps had german guards put back in charge

massive mismanagement and corruption and the devastation in the aftermath of the war insured that there was a thriving black market in food and other goods

the question of what was to be done with the Jews was itself at issue, many of them were from Eastern Europe which meant they would be sent back and it would be a race between being murdered by the local population in Poland and elsewhere or get to live under Communism and possibly get sent to a prison camp all over again

as far as the American authorities were concerned, the Jews were Polish nationals, Ukrainian nationals, etc

the British were obsessed with making sure none of those Jews made it to Israel

the Russians wanted them under their control

Top that off with the fact that a whole lot of people in the US government, beginning with Truman didn't like Jews, it was bad

But with FDR dead, Truman lacked the adoration of Jewish liberals that let FDR do anything he liked and so he made concessions, though his privately railed against the "Pushy Jews" who were being brought to America (but then again this was a Klansman and a guy whose wife refused to let Jews in the house, ala Hillary Clinton)

but the bottom line was that even after the war a lot more people in the military and especially the diplomats like Germans a whole lot more than they liked Jews

but then again those same people also let the Japanese officers who were responsible for the murder and cannibalism of American officers walk free

so treason and perfidy are nothing new

Keli Ata said...

Interestingly, I just finished watching a re-cap of tonight's GOP debate. Sen. John McCain mentioned Ron Paul's support of pulling out of Iraq. McCain said that sort of isolationism is what permitted Hitler to rise to power.

Another GOP candidate (can't recall who off hand) rebuffed McCain and said he didn't know the difference between non-interventionism and isolationism.

I must be stupid because I can't see the different between the two either.

Keli Ata said...

little correction: it was Ron Paul himself who made the comment about McCain not knowing the difference between isolation and non-interventionism.

Sheesh. I had no idea how really old and dessicated he looks!

Post a Comment