Thursday, October 28, 2010

He's Cute, He Has My Vote.

Last night I was watching the Cafferty File on CNN, and with midterm elections coming up, Cafferty was talking about a popular voting trend based on...good looks.

The latest study released by MIT has found that people will vote for a candidate because he "looks the part" whether they actually know his stance on the issues.

These findings are not just specific to America, but across the globe. Cafferty goes on to explain:

According to the study, just by knowing which candidate looked better, researchers could accurately predict the winner in 68 percent of Mexican elections and 75 percent of some Brazilian elections.

Are we seriously exercising our democratic liberties based off of which candidate looks better?

But this is actually a phenomenon we studied in my business class the other day (yup, the same lecture I mentioned in my last blog post on leadership). People said that key factors in leadership were charisma, competence, and character. Leaders could give off the perception that they would be a good leader if they had charisma, were well spoken, well dressed, and overall in good poise. Their charisma transcended into the public's belief that they must also be competent and have good character - the trifecta for a good leader.

Sounds to me like our society is taking the importance of image too far. If you want to read more about MIT's study you can visit the Cafferty File by going here.

And that's my two cents.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

If Everyone is a Leader Then Where are all the Followers?

Today in my Commerce 1800 class Making Business Work we had a guest lecturer talk about leadership. As I was listening to the lecture it made me start thinking about how many times the importance of leadership has been thrown at us as students.

In high school while filling out college applications, they emphasized: student leadership, student leadership, student leadership. They made you feel as if you would not be accepted into college unless you were a student leader.

So now all of these ambitious student leaders are all together in one place at UVA, making an even more competitive enivronment as students continue with their belief that we all have to be student leaders.

But the question that I feel needs to be asked is: If everyone is a leader then where are all the followers?

In reality, not everyone can be a leader. I worry that we are creating a generation of people who will all expect that they will assume leadership positions in the real world, which simply isn't the case.

Furthermore, with the obsession of creating leaders, American society is creating a culture where people derive their value out of their power and postion in leadership roles. People who are not leaders or are simply happy to be a follower are left feeling that they are not contributing as much or as valuable compard to the leaders in their community.

What happened to the value of a strong and invested member in their community, organization, or firm? With all leaders, not only are there not any followers, but there are also not any strong members as the backbone of the organization that helps it function.

I worry that our generation is going to enter the workforce running and gunning for every promotion and top position - because it was what we were told to. But this only leads to disappointment and the disregard for the value of sincere and caring members.

And that's my two cents.