Too Blunt? REALLY? Campaign Season & Style

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Talking Politics is always a potential hornets nest, but there’s a ton to learn from campaign season.  Candidates try and differentiate themselves from the pack, and the pundits critique their every move.  I wouldn’t wish that scrutiny on anyone!

This weekend I caught a glimpse of the Iowa Freedom Summit where republicans made their speeches.  I was particular stumped by NJ Governor Chris Christie, in particular his opening…

“I have heard and read the conventional wisdom that somehow a guy from New Jersey would not be welcomed or understood at the Iowa Freedom Summit,” he said. “That somehow I’m too loud, that I’m too blunt and I’m too direct.”

Perhaps I pay closer attention to Christie being a NJ guy, and my style that I would consider more Direct vs. “Polished.”  But when a candidate needs to overcome “directness” to play on a national level, it is worth reflecting on what works and does not in the Leadership game.

I’m clearly biased and have written plenty on the topic of Leadership Style

Old School Leader:  Dirt Under the Nails Required, Polish Optional
Charisma:  A Dangerous Word in Leadership

In short, I value the straight shooter over the slick, even if the straight shooter makes me pause and hits a “sensitive” nerve.  Business moves at light speed…..breaking through layers of polish to know where you stand takes energy.

I suspect however that my bias is in the minority if a candidate like Chris Christie needs to spend a fair amount of time explaining his leadership style.

In business, I view Leadership “style” like I view a product’s Packaging:  A critical component, but it’s not the PRODUCT itself.  The product in the leadership game is the person, the results they can produce for business and for developing people.     

The “Blunt” topic of Leadership style should force us to ask ourselves some basic questions:

  • How important is style?  Critical?
  • How is trust formed?
  • How do you connect with strangers?
  • What role does style play in the final analysis?  Getting Results

One other interesting tidbit I picked up from the Iowa Summit?  An idea that came from the entertaining (to some) Donald Trump:  Let’s get rid of the following:


I couldn’t agree more.  I respect and admire the great speech.  But it is refreshing to see the few go off the cuff and speak from the heart.

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