Though baseball is currently kaput, television provides us with daily doubleheaders in which the pitchers exhibit wildly contrasting styles.
In the afternoon games we have Governor Raimondo, whose delivery provides no mystery: She serves up straightforward fastballs – you know what’s coming and you know it will be succinct, fact-based, credible, and even comforting in its reassurance that as we struggle with adversity, there’s capability on the mound.
Then comes the night game from Washington, where the ace of the rotation numbs us with a dizzying array of curve-balls and change-ups.
Each approach has its supporters, but the differences highlight what leadership is all about.
As we tune in, we are reminded of what Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart once said about obscenity – that he couldn’t define it, but “I know it when I see it.”
When it comes to the essence of leadership, several high-profile people have taken a crack at definition, and here’s what some of them had to say:
- Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power. – Abraham Lincoln.
- No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit for doing it. – Andrew Carnegie
- The supreme quality of leadership is integrity. – Dwight D. Eisenhower
- You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand. – Woodrow Wilson
- We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be. — Novelist Kurt Vonnegut
- The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things. – Ronald Reagan
- A true leader… becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent. — Gen. Douglas MacArthur
- A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit. –– Business leader Arnold Glasow
- A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be. — First Lady Rosalynn Carter
- Doing what is right isn’t the problem. It is knowing what is right. -– Lyndon B. Johnson
- Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other. — John F. Kennedy
- All the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership. – Economist John Kenneth Galbraith
- Don’t find fault, find a remedy. – Henry Ford
- Be the chief but never the lord. Philosopher Lao Tzu
- It is absurd that a man should rule others, who cannot rule himself. —Latin Proverb
- To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible; to be credible we must be truthful. – Broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow
So there you have some vision on the subject as we fill scorecards for our elected officials, here and in Washington, on how well they are guiding us through these terrible and uncertain times.
Twice a day, we’re given opportunity to see them walk in the cleats of leadership; it is our responsibility to judge the quality of the fit.
Gerry Goldstein (firstname.lastname@example.org), an occasional contributor to What’s Up Newp and What’s Up Rhode Island, is a retired Providence Journal editor and columnist who has been writing for Rhode Island newspapers and magazines for 60 years