If So, RUN (Don't Walk) Away
I've been a leadership counselor for years, but since the last presidential election I've come to realize that I've been doing it all wrong. Clients often ask me what the great leadership traits are, and of course no one has a comprehensive list. But given what I've learned since 2008, I've revised my list of the core traits that make a great (as far as you know) leader. Here are some of the biggies.
Blame your predecessor for ALL problems. You forgot your notes for the interview? Dang that previous guy! You don't know how to solve a key problem? Sheez, there was no way you could know how really badly that last guy screwed things up! Policies not working? Wow! Not even your Amazing Brilliance can clean up that dastardly dude's mess.
Take credit for ALL success, even (and especially) if it was accidental. Say you were, I don't know, a high-ranking government official. And say you had been publicly vocal about how badly certain agencies, like Intelligence and The Military, needed reform... but then, lo! Say those same sad-sacks actually find and eliminate the world's most wanted man. Don't just join in the rejoicing... claim credit! Dance like you pulled the trigger yourself!
Take care of Number One, first, last, and always. Here, you can take a lesson from the former Speaker of the House, the Hon. Nancy Pelosi, who recently disclosed that her net worth (which was high before) actually rose by a whopping 62% in the last year or two, while she was working tirelessly to redistribute (your) wealth to the poor! Now, that's taking care to get yours first.
Don't be present. We used to coach leaders to be visible and present, but that is evidently no longer necessary (or even advisable). Take up golf, and play it often. And when something big is going down under your responsibility (say, you're starting a brand-new expensive war), definitely go on a much-needed vacation, right away.
Say one thing, but always do another. For instance, say you're for small business owners, but tax and regulate 'em all out of existence. Claim environmental concern, and cancel all permits for deep-water drilling in your country... but "loan" (wink wink) billions to other countries to deep-water-drill for oil there (and then spend billions more becoming their "best customer"). Say you're about health care for all, but ram home legislation that actually reduces the quality and availability of care. Remember: it's no longer about what you actually do, but about what you say!
And if you can't remember what to say, just get a good teleprompter.