As most leadership consultants do, I have been watching the campaign in earnest to learn what I can about formulas for success. The more I watch the ending of the McCain campaign, the more clear it becomes as to why this campaign failed.
Two nights ago on the O’Reilly Factor (which I do watch each evening…I also watch a few more Liberal shows like Hardball with Chris Matthews) Carl Cameron reported that sources at the top of the McCain campaign told him that Governor Palin was “difficult, a bit of a shop-aholic, did not know the countries that make up NAFTA and did not know that Africa was a continent.”
I have to say I was a bit in shock. I honestly could not believe what I was hearing. I know that Governor Palin has her shortcomings, but this information leaking out seems to be coming from some cowards…people who don’t have the guts to step up and attach a face and a name to their comments.
I watched the reaction last night on the news…more of the same, and of course, the media is having a field day with this.
If you are a leader, I encourage you to look at the leadership skills (or lack thereof) in this situation and know that at the end of the day, what we are hearing and seeing now is proof positive that this campaign was in grave trouble months ago (even before Palin came onto the scene.)
Here are a few of the leadership skills that I see were (and still are) blatantly missing:
1) Accountability: The McCain campaign has been pointing fingers at each other and Palin for weeks. At the end of the day, McCain should be held accountable. He was the Republican nominee, and accountability starts at the top.
2) Leadership Courage: Some people at the top of the campaign seem to be afraid to be wrong. I believe that they are trying to save themselves right now, so they are throwing Governor Palin under the bus. There’s nothing better for a coward than having a scapegoat.
3) Personal Responsibility: If you are a part of an organization, you need to take responsibility for everything you do and say and every mistake you made. It’s easy to throw the responsibility onto someone who lives thousands of miles away in the state of Alaska.
I want to make clear that I know how difficult running a presidential campaign must be, and my hat is off to both Obama and McCain for sticking out two long years of travel and physical strain. But…at the end of the day, always, always, the leadership skills practiced are what yield results. I have heard it reported that Obama said from the beginning that he was not going to tolerate drama…that he wanted a team that could be united and stand together no matter what, and guess what…it worked! Don’t ever underestimate what leadership development, managerial courage and accountability can do for your organization.