On February 15th I appeared on Mornings with Maria Bartiromo, discussing everything from the Fed’s rate hike, to oil prices to the upcoming GOP Debate. The United States has suffered greatly from the level of contentiousness in DC. Whoever serves in the Oval Office next, whether they be Democrat or Republican, the country will be far better off if they treat the other side with respect and seek to find common ground upon which to build legislation. Whether you like the Affordable Care Act or not, it will continue to face serious attacks because it was enacted without a single vote from the Republicans. It would be easy to simply claim that the reason is Republicans all hate Obama and refuse to enact any of his legislation, but the facts deny that assertion as Republicans have in fact gone along with the President on a variety of positions.
No one has or ever will lead a group of people who completely agree with every position the leader takes. A leader will always face those who oppose their views, and thank God for that! Respectful disagreements can lead to much better solutions – this is something every CEO knows. Those companies whose leadership is never challenged, are doomed to failure. Only through rigorous debate and critical analysis can the solution to any problem be thoughtfully assessed. A wise leader welcomes such pushback and sets the tone for civil debate. Neither the leadership on the left nor the right have done much to foster a productive environment, instead engaging in emotional appeals to their constituents rather than thoughtful engaging with the opposing side.
As we get to know those who want the incredible honor of serving the country from the Oval Office, keep this in mind; great leaders know the value of disagreement and use it to strengthen their solutions. Great leaders set the tone for respectful disagreement and earn respect from both those whose ideology is aligned with theirs and those who differ. Throughout American history we’ve had Presidents from both the left and the right who have been able to accomplish this and the country was better for it.