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By Bruce Yernberg


My wife is an international news watcher.  For humor she follows the antics of a few national Republicans.  Personally, I have developed an interest in rural small town Minnesota politics mixed in with a bit with Minnesota legislative happenings.  Now and then we gather around the kitchen table and discuss our “global” differences.  Lately there are many similarities … too many.

A problem we both agree on is the lack of leadership throughout the many forms of government trying to control (govern) us.  My wife’s career started in health care and up the chain-of-her- command people knew what they were doing.  I was an engineer in the military (and in civilian life) and up-my-chain-of-command …  all knew the job.

Many of you have read a few books on leadership.  And during our labor careers we were sent to a variety of training sessions, breakouts and spirited conventions.  We read the books, studied hard and watched the labor movement agree to such lunacy like “Labor Management Cooperation”.  All the while the percent of union membership in our country was in decline.

There are not many shepherds among us:  We remember working for leaders who never ever sat at a table and negotiated a labor agreement.  We had leaders who never wrote a grievance or comforted a member who was falsely terminated.  They never organized a picket line.  They wouldn’t know who to call anyways?  Hey don’t feel sorry for labor.  Government works the same way.

There are fewer shepherds among politicians who represent us:  Some years ago, a business theory was developed at schools like the Carlson School of Mis-management that taught future CEOs and many who will never be a CEO the theory of delegation.  That way you don’t need to know much … you just delegate. Well, the poli-science bunch picked it up; hence the politicians of today.

Take for example this:  Consider a County Commissioner.  All their work has been previously delegated.  The elected Sherriff has his/her own Kingdom.  The Assessor has his/hers.  The County health Department has his/hers.  And etcetera.  No leaders.  Everything is delegated and nobody is in charge.  But worse is this, its always somebody else’s responsibility.  And that is the way it is throughout government. 

I used to argue with the folks who would say it doesn’t matter if I vote.  Maybe they have a point. 

There is a book written by a Navy Admiral by the name of McRaven, a former Navy Seal.  He has written a couple of books about leadership.  One chapter of his recent book is titled: “If you want to be a shepherd you better smell like sheep”.



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