I ran across the notes from that conversation just the other day. As I read them, I didn’t laugh nearly as much as when we were talking. I didn’t laugh at all. Instead, I found them shockingly relevant, even more so than back then, perhaps tonight more than ever.
Here are a few of our snarky and seemingly outlandish thoughts that were funny back then but more grounded in leadership, and specifically political, reality today; and thus terrifying:
Attributes of Soul-less Leadership
- Mindlessness is the critical first step to soul-lessness. To seek and find true mindlessness, the soul-less leader must resist the temptations of critical thought and self-reflection.
- Soul-lessness is about eliminating one’s inner dialogue, uncertainty, and general consciousness to project singularity and certainty.
- Having successfully nullified internal consciousness and struggle, the soul-less leader can focus his attention on what really matters in leadership: protecting the social, economic, and cultural constructs that created and define his successful leadership (see the soul-less loop below).
- The soul-less leader does not change the system, but merely seeks to bend it toward himself.
Skills of Soul-less Leadership
Powerful communication of a powerless message
The Soul-less Leadership Loop
The soul-less leader seeks a path to the self that is self-affirming.
The soul-less leader seeks to lead to justify his own leadership.
The soul-less leader seeks only insights that confirm the correctness of his own insights
Today, I don’t want to be cynical or disillusioned. I try every day not to be. But, anyone paying attention, I assume, sees many, if not all, of these attributes on display every day in our local and national politics.
So, for tonight, for this Presidential Debate, rather than make a cynical or disillusioned assumption, I will leave it as a question for each of us to ponder and observe: as the two people vying to lead our country debate and discuss their ideas, who will have the courage to show us their soul?