On the Lookout for Presidential Leadership

Written by Jerry Curry on October 27, 2013

For a leader, knowing what is going on where and when in your organization is as natural as drinking a glass of water. A real leader monitors what is going on at all levels during an action. That is, he must know what is being done where, when and why. And if for some reason he doesn’t know, he goes to wherever he must and finds out.

Gathering and evaluating information is one of a leader’s most important jobs. That is why in combat when he arrives, and a battle is in progress, he immediately goes to the sound of the guns. He appreciates all the information he is given and briefings are always helpful, but nothing can replace seeing the fighting and dying first hand, with his own eyes.

Subordinates know the kind of things, the kind of information their leaders need to have to make the right decisions because they have been trained by them. A leader, through his words and actions, signals to his subordinates the kinds of things he needs to know, the information he needs to have.

When an action like Benghazi goes wrong you shouldn’t have to send someone to wake up the Commander-in-Chief to get your orders. He should already be there, in the war room, eagerly waiting and fully prepared to take charge.

The question that wasn’t asked in Libya, and no one in the chain of command seemed inclined to ask and get answered in the Mediterranean or back in Washington, was simple: “Who is in charge?” Once you figure that out, the questions, answers and actions flow naturally.

About the Obamacare rollout the President says, “No one could be more frustrated than I am and this isn’t smooth.” The American people don’t give a care whether he is frustrated or not. His state of mind is irrelevant. The question is what is he going to do to relieve the American people’s frustration.

If he must personally go to the website headquarters, take charge of the operations and stay there until they are fixed, that is what he should do. That is leadership. Someone can bring him in a cot for sleeping and I’m sure McDonald’s would be happy to feed him for free.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says that the President didn’t know that there was so much trouble with the rollout so he couldn’t be faulted for not getting personally involved in fixing things. That is a lot of rubbish.

Obamacare is important, it is the President’s and the Democrat party’s signature piece of legislation, so why didn’t the President know that it was facing a disaster? Why didn’t Sebelius tell him face to face? What did she have to do that was more important?

Once she knew what a disaster the Obamacare rollout was, she should have driven over to the White House, knocked on the Oval Office door and said, “Houston, we’ve got a problem.” A few tired and groggy astronauts locked up in a space capsule could figure out that they faced disaster, but an entire department of the government back in Washington couldn’t figure out the same thing? Give me a break.

Leadership matters. The American people have been waiting for five years for the President to deliver to them Obamacare. He and his minions have huffed and puffed, and shilly-shallyied and delivered nothing. It is time they called in Amazon.com and let the adults take charge.

Image: Courtesy of Shutterstock

Topics: Presidential Leadership, Barack Obama, Benghazi, Obamacare Rollout

General Jerry Ralph Curry (D.Min.) is a decorated combat veteran, Army Aviator, Paratrooper and Ranger. He enlisted in the Army as a Private and retired a Major General. For nearly forty years he and his wife Charlene have served this country both in the military and while he was a Presidential political appointee.