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Why People Run for Public Office and How They Quickly Become Compromised 

When they first assume office, politicians even with the best of intentions can run afoul in many ways.

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 In today’s highly toxic political environment, why would anyone choose to serve in government? Most people, presumably, run for office to achieve one or more goals. These goals might include serving the public good, achieving fame and positive notoriety, and obtaining more personal power.

At the county and local level, some individuals run for elected office with a primary goal of becoming more widely known, as opposed to merely getting elected. Attorneys, accountants, bankers, entrepreneurs, and service providers who’ve run for office have long since discovered that campaigning, in and of itself, is an effective form of public relations and promotion.

Seeking the Pot of Gold

Some people run for U.S. Congress with a specific cause in mind. Even in those cases, progress towards other goals is still a factor. It’s certainly acceptable both to serve a constituency and to gain some recognition — two goals that contemporary professionals often pursue.

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Politicians with even the best of intentions when they first assume office, alas, can run afoul in many ways. Three traps, among many others, that are most insidious include cronyism, profiting from insider knowledge, and capitulating to the mainstream press. Let’s look at each of these three traps.

Trap #1: Cronyism

Suppose you’re newly elected to Congress. You’re excited. You want to do well. You want to ensure that your constituency is represented to the utmost degree. Many people along the way, undoubtedly, have helped you. And, that is where temptation lies. Certain individuals might ask for favors. Or, you will feel beholding to some people, even if they have not asked for favors.

When the opportunity arises to award a contract or benefit a vendor, the natural propensity of human beings is to favor who they know, who they like, or who those with whom they are familiar. As such, objective criteria might suffer, such as who can do the best job, who has submitted the best proposal, who has a proven track record, and who can we absolutely rely upon time and time again.

In U.S. history, from newly elected state senators to presidents, reliance upon cronies has come back to haunt politicians. This was the case with Presidents Jackson, Grant, Harding, Hoover, Johnson, Clinton, W. Bush, and Obama, among others. Critics claim that Trump belonged on the list, but this was not so historical comparison. Joe Biden is steeped in cronyism beyond hope and reason

Trap #2 Profiting from Insider Knowledge

Politicians are privy to information that the rest of the population is not. They learn about impending trade deals, state or regional economic plans, and international relations. Politicians and public figures must tread carefully: How one and one’s family benefits, as a result of the insider knowledge, invariably becomes public at some point.

Two contemporary politicians, exposed by the same investigative author, have so egregiously flouted the norms of the respective positions, one wonders why they are still held in high esteem. Hillary Clinton, as U.S. Secretary of State, unceasingly traded on her position to bolster the finances of the Clinton Foundation and of her family. This has been exhaustively documented in the book, Clinton Cash, by Peter Schweizer.

Another politician, now acting as president, and four members of his family, has benefitted extensively over several decades from insider knowledge and influence peddling. His name is Joe Biden. Profiles in Corruption, also by Peter Schweizer, documents how the Biden family has profited enormously during Joe’s 47 years in Washington. Whether you’re on the Left or the Right, it is difficult to find fault with Schweizer’s sources and conclusions.

Capitulating to the Mainstream Press

Politicians and public figures lose their way via capitulation to the mainstream press. Our society is over-saturated by media. The mainstream media leans decidedly left, and hounds politicians and government officials who lean right, at least from the day each person assumes office. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT), perhaps always a RINO, is chief among GOP politicians who capitulate to the Left-wing press. His cringe-worthy statements against his own party are well-documented

John Roberts, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, is another example. Roberts’ conservative views increasingly have been moderated over the years as a result of the relentless pounding he endures from The New York Times, The Washington Post, ABC, NBC, CBS, NPR, and numerous other media outlets. Steadfast and determined individuals, committed to their ideals, such as Justice Samuel Alito and Justice Clarence Thomas, do not succumb to the constant pressure of the press.

Can politicians and public figures on the Left be unduly influenced by media outlets on the right? Presumably, but it rarely happens. The Right doesn’t enjoy the massive media clout that the Left has enjoyed for more than 75 years. And the Left, which once subtly enforced a strict code of ideological compliance, is not so subtle anymore, as we all know.

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



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Business

Delegation: An Ongoing Phenomena

Failure to delegate effectively often happens because team leader don’t trust the people with whom they’re working

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For most of your career, you’ve read or heard that one of the key approaches to getting things done is to delegate effectively. This presumes that you have others to whom you can delegate. In my contact with more than 950 organizations over the last two and a half decades, I’ve found increasingly that people have fewer resources, a lower budget, and less staff people. If they want to get something done, often they have to do it themselves!

Assuming you have others to whom you can delegate, the first or second time you personally tackle a particular task yields useful information. You learn more about the nature of the task, how long it takes, and whether or not you enjoy doing it.

By the third time, a task of the same ilk as those you’ve handled before often becomes best handled by someone reporting to you. Such tasks could involve updating a database, completing an interim report, or assembling meeting notes.

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All that You Can

On the path to getting things done, your quest is to identify all those things that you can possibly delegate to others and then prepare those others so that they have a high probability of succeeding. In the course of your workday there may be only a handful of things that you alone need to do because of your experience, insight or specialized knowledge. Everything else that can be delegated should be.

Some people feel they have to take care of everything themselves and to this day haven’t been able to break the habit of “doing it all.” If this someone is in your seat right now, recognize that as a category of one, you can only get so much done.

Many managers and supervisors fail to delegate effectively because either they don’t fully trust the people with whom they’re working, or they’ve always been get-it-all-done-by-myself types.

Take Time before You Assign

Prior to delegating anything to anyone, take the time to actually prepare your staff for delegation. This would involve assessing an employee’s skills, interests, and needs. You could even ask people what new tasks and responsibilities they would like to assume. You might be surprised at the wide variety of responses you receive. There may be people on your staff right now who can help you with tasks you’ve been dying to hand off to someone but didn’t see how or when you could put them into play.

While you want to delegate to staff people who show enthusiasm, initiative and interest, or have otherwise previously demonstrated the ability to handle and balance several tasks at once, sometimes you have to delegate to someone who has not exhibited any of the above. In that case, delegate on a piece-meal basis.

Ensure that the staff person is able to effectively handle the small task or tasks he’s been assigned and does not feel swamped or overloaded. When the staff person demonstrates competence, you can increase the complexity of assignments and even the frequency with which you delegate.

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Multi-tasking: More Harm than Good

In this day and age, where so much competes for our attention, it is easy to stray!

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I belong to a local health club, and while I was there one day, I saw a woman get on the Stairmaster. I watched as she whipped out an mp3 player and started listening to music. Then, to my surprise, she reached into her gym bag, pulled out a book, and placed it on that ledge to read. I almost asked her if she would like a piece of gum!

Today, when so much competes for our attention, it is easy to stray! More often than we care to pretend, in the office and at home, we invite more than we can handle, and then act as though we didn’t. As individuals, throughout society, we are trained to believe that the ability to multi-task is a great attribute. Unfortunately, that’s a big mistake. Here’s why, and how to avoid multi-tasking in the future.

First Things First

What’s the fastest and easiest way to handle six tasks competing for our attention? Identify the most important task, second most important, third most important, and so on, then tackle the first and finish it all the way, move on to the second and complete it, then move all the way down the list.

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Any other way of tackling those items, whether they are tasks for home or work, is simply not as efficient. The catch is, any other way is more psychologically satisfying.  Why?  It’s almost as if juggling projects, switching gears unnecessarily or abruptly, or leaving a job unfinished to start a new project gives you the opportunity to say to other people, “Hey, look at me! Look how involved I am! Look at how busy I am! I’m great at multi-tasking.” A multi-tasker, however, can’t compete with others who tackle their to-do list, one item at a time.

What about doubling up as a procedure for tackling a number of routine items or very simple tasks? You can eat dinner and read a book at the same time. Eating and reading at the same time is relatively harmless.

How about driving and talking on the cell phone at the same time? Driving requires your sharp attention, as does carrying on an intelligent conversation with someone else who is not present; doing both at the same time spreads your attention too thin, with often disastrous results. The same is true for projects you’re working on that require your best thinking.

Tips:
* give yourself 5 to 10 minute intervals to focus on the task at hand
* safe-guard your immediate environment to avoid interruptions
* acknowledge yourself whenever you stick to one task and finish it
* repeat all the above, often, knowing that ‘more often’ is better!

Your Undivided Attention

When you’re working on a new task, brainstorming, engaging in first-time thinking, or doing creative work, it’s vital to offer your complete and undivided attention to that one task before you. To dissipate your attention or otherwise stray means you are not going to do your best work.

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