Barbara Parsons mug - Wyoming columnist

Barbara Parsons

Wyoming columnist

Years ago I was apprehensive about assuming the leadership position of an organization. A mentor of mine reassured me that it was doable for me if I followed a good leadership model. We discussed what a good leader does versus a dictatorship. That leadership is really about assembling and giving oversight to a team of experts.

Recently a fellow columnist mused about who is presently running the country. The scenarios he was considering had nothing to do with leadership, rather some Machiavellian behind-the-scenes dictators giving marching orders.

This mindset is not surprising, given the last presidential example of leadership. President Trump never mastered the skills of a leader. Rather, he micro-managed every facet of the executive branch. If an appointed member of his cabinet did not follow his marching orders or agree with him most of the time, they were gone.

He fancied himself the expert of every imaginable discipline and tried to dictate. In doing so, he set himself up for failure. He would have been way more effective, if he had assembled a competent team and let them do their job.

Party affiliation aside, effective leaders need a team, and they need to trust that team.

While some elected leaders have thought they could do it all by themselves, more often than not, our governments operate best with a team.

The first thing our elected President does is to appoint members to his team. While the buck stops with him or hopefully her someday, the President is well advised to listen to his team when making decisions. If a leader tries to micro-managed each and every facet of the government, it becomes an ineffective black hole.

In addition to the Presidents’ team, each of those appointees have career experts on their team to help them be well informed advisors to the president.

If a President is incapacitated, a well-functioning team keeps the wheels of government efficiently spinning.

Not only is it ludicrous to think someone in a mysterious back room is running the country, it wouldn’t work very well.

I have often said anyone could be President and do a good job if they appointed a competent team and let them do their job.

This country is not meant to have a dictator at any level.

Consider the following about local officials. When elected to a city council, only the majority enacts decisions. Individuals don’t have power. Likewise, County Commissioners must have a majority of the commissioners agreeing before decisions can be made. The same is true of school trustees. Plus, that is only the first step.

These groups hire an Executive Director/Mayor, Superintendent of Schools or another county official like the County Clerk to enact their policies or decisions. These CEO’s or hired experts, like City Managers, hire a team; for example: teachers, Road and Bridge Superintendents. etc.

Then, we elect legislators to serve on a state or federal team to enact state or federal laws. Again, no single legislator can enact laws, just a majority can. Governors or the president can veto these laws, but a prescribed team of the majority can override vetoes.

Throughout the whole process, checks and balances, help ensure the majority rules, not a dictator. When some powerful political figure tries to bypass majority rule, chaos and/or dysfunction eventually happens.

Former Governor Geringer tried to managed every facet of state government. He wanted complete oversight. It didn’t work very well. Even Republicans working for him were stressed at the paralysis he created.

Consider the legislature where Republican usually hold a closed caucus where elected officials often get much of their marching orders from their party. That may or may not reflect the wishes of their constituents. That has happened many times in this state. And now the state party want to force all in participating members to march to their particular drummer. You have only to observe what is happening to see the chaos that has ensued from the actions of petty dictators.

While our country has seen elected officials try to be dictators, it doesn’t work very well because our elected offices were all designed to operate most effectively with a team. Our political system certainly wasn’t designed to be run by behind-the-scenes dictators.

Barbara Parsons lives in Rawlins and writes editorials and a gardening column for the Rawlins Times.

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