Letter to the Editor: Profile of a Leader

Recently there has been discussion initiated by voters who, believing that we need to do better, have started to review candidates for the next mayoral election. Though most would think that it is too early for that process, I would suggest that, with a provincial election in progress, it’s never too early to look for better leadership in our elected representatives, especially those who will carry management responsibilities.

So let me suggest a profile for the type of leader that we REALLY need:

  • She is an economic conservative and a social liberal. She is entrepreneurial and visionary, but grounded in reality. She has done a real job somewhere for somebody, and understands the need to make payroll, manage expenses and have a bottom line.
  • Though nurtured in the private sector, she understands the dynamics and nuances of leading a not-for-profit entity. She may already be a proven custodian of the public purse. She has a proven track record of good judgment, and common sense.
  • He believes in democracy, and its values and principals, but is willing to improve its processes in the interest of equality and efficiency. He understands the needs, desires and aspirations of his community but responds to them with regard to financial viability.
  • She as done manual labor, and believes in its value, but masters and uses modern technology. She is a student of history, but does not try to relive it. She uses the real tools and assets from here and now to focus on the future.
  • His style is informal. He considers other options, but prefers to promote from within. He encourages enterprise and challenges his people. He delegates complete, important jobs and accepts the results. He sees mistakes as learning experiences, not punishable offences. He knows that good people make more of them, because they risk more and try harder; ultimately, it makes them stronger and more valuable. When they fail, he accepts responsibility; when they succeed, he is the first to applaud. He carries water for his people so they can get the job done.
  • She dreams, but in black and white, not technicolor.
  • He rocks the boat but does not allow it to take on water.
  • She knows when and how to fire someone.
  • He is enthusiastic but not fanatical.
  • She is committed but not ambitious; intelligent, not intellectual; articulate not glib; confident not conceited; charming not charismatic; has humility, not hubris.
  • He is forthright but never fearful; discerning but never cynical; personable but never pretentious; more logical than theoretical.
  • She is a risk-taker but not a gambler.
  • He has a high degree of self awareness.
  • She has a track record of the pragmatic, not the precarious. He chooses integrity over expediency; believes in consultation but not concession.
  • He always takes the high road on matters of principle; the public must know there are things on which you will not compromise. He has the ability, the brains and the fortitude to make the tough decision and do the right thing. He will tell the unpopular truth.
  • She strives for continuous improvement, better communication, and socially conscious policy. She believes in a culture of productivity & performance, including polite and prompt response to the public.
  • She is comfortable with all people, at all levels, in all walks of life.
  • He makes his own coffee and washes his own cup.
  • She counsels many but can decide for herself.
  • He laughs a lot, even when things are tough; he takes the job seriously but not himself. He has a kind word when it is needed most. He’s consistent and credible. His door is open. He is available. He prefers personal contact to memos. He goes to people and does not summon them.
  • She looks for ways to eliminate paperwork and obstacles to progress. She breaks complex issues down into simple terms.
  • He follows his people in good times, guides them in bad times and leads them in crisis.
  • Most importantly, our candidate never has, and never will decide anything, anywhere, simply for political purpose!

The right people are out there, and we need to find them, encourage them and elect them every time, every chance, everywhere, no matter what their party, or affiliation…and despite any personal bias, faulty friendship or alternative reasoning that we might have.

Let’s start to think, question, and assess more objectively before we vote. For whom and what are we really voting, and what are we getting? There is ample evidence that very few of our current representatives, at any level, are either willing or able to do the job for which they have been elected. And almost none have enough of the qualities above to deserve our continued support.


Mike Johnson
North Sydney


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