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  • Writer's pictureJoe

Coronavirus, failure of leadership

In light of 45's dangerous comments during his Thursday night press conference, there is no other option for this President than to resign. The comments were a danger to public health, jeopardised untold millions of people, and may have set us back in our effort to address the pandemic.

Crises call for unparalleled leadership not because we need a figurehead to tell us what to do but to guide us in how we ought to act. Leadership involves a relationship between a leader, whether chosen or not, and the people she leads. To guide us, the leader engages in the same sorts of behaviour as those she leads. This is also called leading by example. Honestly, this is the last thing that 45's administration has done, lead by example. Instead, there has been a pandemic of misinformation filtered through the White House, name calling in the Press room, and blame placed on other countries.

True leaders set aside their own personal interests for the interests of others, of the people the leader leads. Being a leader is not easy precisely because they are expected to set aside their own interests. The leader does not have the luxury of ignoring information and cloistering away somewhere. A true leader has to step out in front of everyone and show us that our interests are being served by the leader. Unfortunately, in business, this is the exact opposite quality of a so-called good business leader. The expectation of a good business leader is to act solely in their own self-interest at the expense of others, including especially those people who surround the leader.

Finally, good leaders understand their own shortcomings. We cannot be experts in everything. Good leaders understand this and surround themselves with experts who know a lot of things about something very specialised. They possess the epistemic virtue of intellectual humility--the idea that they have no reservations acknowledging their own limited intellectual capabilities.

Since 45 possesses none of these three critical ingredients of a good leader, it is time for him to step down and let professionals handle the situation. Resign, Mr President, it is the only way you will not be further humiliated.

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