Letter: Spirit of respect, collaboration will enhance Columbus

From: Kevin Lair


Our national political climate has come to be defined by opposition and polarization. Politicians and pundits consider compromise as an act of betrayal rather than a necessity. And when they speak of representing “the people,” they mean only a small group who share their views. They confuse insisting on their own way with standing for what is right. They pretend to serve others when really serving themselves. Some people are pleased by this state of affairs, but many are frustrated at the inability of leaders to work through differences and govern effectively for everyone.

Real leadership comes from those who see their success in the success of others. It requires maturity, self-awareness and empathy to really listen, engage and support others around you. Real leaders do not seek to stand out or elevate themselves. Real leaders have the strength to admit their limitations and missteps and be accountable for them. They are careful observers who can manage many perspectives around a single issue. Real leaders are ready to adapt and compromise in order resolve issues with honesty and fairness. They fight on principles but do not insist they have all the answers. What is right may be elusive for everyone, and real leaders can manage uncertainty and ambiguity.

Real leaders do not retaliate, belittle or try to score points. They defeat enemies by turning them into friends. They garner respect from all. Real leaders learn from their defeats. Rather than blame others, they reflect upon each situation and resolve to improve themselves.

I recently saw a post online from a winning candidate of a recent local election giving high praise to the incumbent who lost to her. It was a sincere reflection on the positive support her opponent had provided to her. It was a great example of local leadership and encouragement that we have young leaders willing to put the community first. They both are big winners in my book. I believe Columbus will move forward in the spirit of respect, collaboration and shared common interests.