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October 27, 2012 / Social Business Media Managers

The Candidate: What Characteristics are Important?

As we are now into the election cycle in a very big way, it is incumbent on us to make some sound decisions about the people we elect. As we go to vote either in person or absentee we must look not at what party the person represents but the person. I was asked to reflect on the qualities one should look for in a person who wants to represent us at both the national and state level. First, as I begin I know that the person must be a leader. A person that I and others would like to follow has many different attributes of a leader. After much consideration here are some qualities that I believe are important to me.

First, the person must have integrity. The dictionary defines integrity as follows: adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty. He/she must show in many ways that what is said and what is done has some congruence. An individual must show that as a person of integrity that they can be counted on in the little and the big things. She/he must have high moral values and be honest in all their undertakings. This becomes one of the cornerstones of the person. The person must mean what he/she says and does what he/she says they are going to do. One of the most important things is to be true to your word as a person of integrity. It is important that a person who seeks office is a person who demonstrates this in everyday life. This quality will have a profound influence in all that is done as it relates to providing leadership.
Another of the qualities is that he or she must have a true and articulated purpose in life. The purpose is something that deep inside drives him or her to be successful. It is a quality which allows a person to be focused on what is most important to him/her in their lives and in how it is viewed as a motivating force in all that is done. It provides the initial impetus to move his or her life in the directions that are part of their core being. An individual must have demonstrated in life his or her purpose and how it has made a difference to others. What is it that drives a person to become the best and to overcome the multiple challenges of life and of business? Does their purpose coincide with what is being articulated in the vision of where the individual is going? Does it provide a basis for motivation not only for the person but for others as well?

Another of the key factors of a great leader is the ability to be very passionate about what he or she believes. The person must show their belief in what is being done with great passion–not merely through many words but through their actions. Is he or she articulating a vision and goals of where the person wants to go and what he/she wants to accomplish with a great passion, which inspires you to want to follow him or her? Does the individual show by their actions their own belief in what is being said; has he or she shown leadership in what has been accomplished? Had the person shown passion and enthusiasm in all that he or she does? What specific things can you isolate that show their passion for leading people toward a common goal? Having been in business and working with business, education and government agencies, I know that only those who have a vision, goals, objectives, a plan and great belief and a passion in what he or she is doing allows him or her to become great leaders and become successful in their ventures. The individual must have the enthusiasm that creates a win-win feeling in the people he or she talks with and with the things the person is involved in doing.

The individual must have a great belief in himself or herself and their ideas. The person must be able to articulate this in ways that a person can visibly see. A person must know themselves well. He/she should know their strengths and their weakness. An individual must show that he/she is a reader as leader and is open to learning more to strength their own skills and overcome their weak areas. A person must show that he/she is willing to have open and honest communication at all levels and share their ideas with great belief and not merely using rhetoric. He/she should show that as leaders that there is a willingness to step up to the plate and lead through times. An individual has to show confidence in their articulated plan, and in the people as they go through the difficult times. When times are good, the individual must still display the confidence in the people and celebrate the success with them. He/she has to show commitment to their beliefs and go the extra mile to create the opportunity for success for him/herself and the people that are following them and in this case, the constituents.

A leader must be prepared to face the multiple challenges that will come their way. As a person seeking the votes and confidence of the people, how has he/she shown a readiness to deal with challenges? What challenges has he/she faced in their lives that have prepared them to look for solutions to the various things life put in front of successful people? It is important that our leaders be able to lead by example. It is a time when party rhetoric will no longer suffices. We need individuals who have a vision for what he/she wants to accomplish, recognize that there are challenges along the way and be ready to seek various alternative solutions that best reflect their core values and the values of the people they purport to serve. The individual must assess where he/she is going and the impact on the people they serve and the good of the others. The solutions must not be done selfishly but out of an honest and deep belief in him/herself, their core values and knowledge and projections of its effect on the people they serve.

Recognize that he or she does not have all the solutions and be willing to build a team of individuals to assist and support her/him in seeking solutions to the multiple challenges facing the State and the Nation is an asset that is critical to a leader. While many times we are asked for what is wrong or what problems we see, hardly ever are we ever asked what we would see as possible solutions. The person must be willing to reach out and build a first class mastermind team that keeps focus on the vision and the development of a well-articulated plan to achieve that vision. This must then be articulated to people in a manner that shows them a direction. People seek and want to follow a leader who knows where he or she is going and has a clear plan and measurable goals. A team of individuals who extend beyond political boundaries must be a critical part of the success. The question one must ask is how has the person shown or demonstrated in their life, and in their chosen professional life, the ability to create and lead a team in a positive direction for success? In the process has he/she shown how to involve we the people in seeking solutions? Given the technologies of today, we have many ways for people to become a source for solutions rather than just select groups being those that provide solutions. The use of web-based communication including video, webinars and conferences make this an avenue for greater involvement. The use of free conference calls using web based tools and creating and using free web-based surveys are other alternatives to keeping people involved.

The person must be a creative thinker. He/she should be flexible and imaginative. She/he must be able to envision end solutions and be able to articulate the vision to create an enthusiasm to find practical solutions and develop the plan that will achieve the vision. The individual must seek creative solutions to continue to grow and improve the ways we deal with problems. The person must be adaptable but also stay true to their core values. Working with others to create solutions is not an easy task and requires patience, empathy, decisiveness, dedication and the ability to continue to articulate the problem at its base level and not the symptoms of the problems. One must ask how and when has the person who wants to lead demonstrated these characteristics? How has the person shown the ability to do things that go beyond the norm and have sought and implanted unique solutions to problems in business, government or their own professional arenas?

Last but not least the person must demonstrate perseverance. This quality shows a person’s willingness to stay the course through thick and thin. The individual must be desirous and continue to move forward in times of adversity. Perseverance is the ability to get up when one wants to give up, but one knows that giving up is not an option. It is the ability to work with people to keep them moving toward the goal doing whatever it takes by leading through example. It is not just about talking a talk but it is about walking the walk in all things. It is being a person who has determination to succeed and is dedicated to assisting others to be successful through their efforts. It is a person with humility and yet knows that working harder than anyone else is the only way to lead and show they are willing to roll up their sleeves and tackle the job and learn as they go.
Thus, in my estimation, a candidate for office is not about the party or what the party articulates, it is about the core of the individual and their ability to lead people to create solutions to the various challenges that we are facing. With each challenge, there is the opportunity for greatness, the opportunity to move forward with a new and different approach, a way to make something better. The person must have clarity in all that is said; this is not a game of words, but a means of demonstrating a true commitment to their core values and purpose and articulates to the people with enthusiasm and conviction a vision, goals and plans to improve the present status. When a person has said he or she is going to do something for you has there been a follow through? Has he/she demonstrated you are able to trust their actions in the small things as well as the big things? As a leader being true to what you say and showing it all ways is what people are looking for in a candidate/leader. It is not about what party has the best solution, but what person is willing to lead through the adversity to come up with a better more comprehensive solution. As stated previously people are looking for someone who can build up an energy and excitement in moving toward a vision and goals. They are willing to follow someone with a clear and articulated plan.

People are tired of rhetoric and mudslinging. They are looking for a leader with a vision and a theme that runs through all is done and that they can easily remember and identify with as something that resonates with them. As a leader one must have the energy and the courage to go places no others have gone. It is sometimes easier to follow the path most traveled, but it is not always the best choice for the greater good. One must be willing to challenge the status quo and seek those solutions that best reflects the greater good. The leader, in articulating and moving forward, must listen to those that are in the trenches to assist in creating the positive solutions. In quality management, it is always important to take decision making to the lowest levels and listens to their input in seeking change and solutions to problems to improve performance. The same must hold true in politics. As a candidate and potential leader can he or she verbalize a clear mission, vision, goals and detailed plan of action that makes you ready and willing to follow them?

As I conclude this brief paper, it is my hope that it has raised questions in your own mind about the people you are considering for office. It is my desire that the decisions you make are not based out of party bias but a true reflection of the person who wants to lead. Each candidate at each level is asking you to trust them to be your leader and representative at the State and National level. Ask yourself do these individuals portray the core values that I believe are important and how has it been portrayed their own core values as the person has campaigned and in what she/he has done in their professional life? Make your choice wisely. These are the people that will in part be shaping the future of our State and Nation.

© October 24, 2012 Lonnie G. Juarez, Jr. Ph.D. Owner/President Social Business Media Connections

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