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How to get caught on video being a poor leader

Being a leader comes with a lot of responsibility, and this is especially true for leaders who are elected rather than hired. Politicians are in a unique position of needing to provide leadership to an incredibly large and diverse population, many of whom may not like, or support, their chosen leader. Worse yet, politicians are similar to police — people rarely call them to give compliments, but folks are quick to call up their elected representatives to complain.

Unfortunately, there seems to be a growing divide between politicians and the citizens they represent at all levels of government. While the reasons behind this increased disconnect may be easy to blame on complex factors, the fact is that leaders simply don't get the respect they once did, and in some cases, they aren't respected because they aren't acting in a way that's respectable, responsible or courteous.

Bad Leadership Caught on Tape

Recently Seattle council members were caught on video demonstrating exceptionally bad leadership behavior — it's the kind of behavior that's fueling the growing distrust and diminishing respect for elected officials throughout the country.

On March 11, 2019, Seattle citizen Richard Schwartz was scheduled to deliver two minutes of remarks to the city council in response to a proposed development in his neighborhood. The Council member for District 5 (North Seattle), Debora Juerez, was presiding over the public comment period.

Aside from Juerez, every single council member can be clearly seen on the video tapping away on digital devices. They make no effort to acknowledge the citizen or conceal their apparent disinterest in the matters at hand. This behavior is something that clearly caught the attention of Schwartz, and he calls out the council on their blatant disinterest in the matters at hand.

At the start of the short video clip, Schwartz approached the mic and says, "Before you start the clock, could you stop it for a second? It's real discouraging to come up here and see all the heads down...."

Immediately Council member Juerez interrupts him, sharply saying that, "You're on a 2-minute timer here, so lets go". Schwartz asks again for the councils' attention, and Juerez rebuffs him, letting him know he's wasted 25 percent of his allotted speaking time asking for their attention and denying requests from the citizen speaker to reset the 120 second timer.

Looking defeated, Schwartz proceeds to point out that just a week earlier the council further restricted public comments to just 60 seconds while letting a wealthy lobbyist speak for as long as she wished. Schwartz came to the meeting to express concerns over the erosion of the democratic process and it seems like the behavior of the leaders reinforced his concern.

Don't Be A Poor Leader

In spite of the inherently adversarial relationship between politicians and many of their constituents, elected officials — like all leaders — need to act in a way that's respectful and courteous toward both their allies and opponents.

This video clearly demonstrates what being a poor leader looks like — and how simply giving a citizen 2 minutes of their time can instantly make politicians more respected by those who have given them the leadership roles they have.

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