A Leadership Lesson: How ignoring “their base” strengthened their position

Two days after the South Carolina Senate voted 37-3 to remove the confederate flag from the state capital the South Carolina House of Representatives followed suit and also approved the measure by an overwhelming margin.

It was a leadership lesson for all of us.

These votes come just a few weeks after the initial outcry for the flag’s removal was met with significant skepticism and deemed nearly impossible since it would require a 2/3 majority. The republican led lawmakers, nearly everyone predicted, would never even consider alienating the small, but vocal, base of southerners who passionately opposed to the flags removal.

But leadership and common sense prevailed.

Leadership Lesson - David DeWolf

Instead of getting tied up in the politics of the matter, Republican Governor Nikki Haley, previously a supporter of the flag, “ignored the base” and became the driving force behind its removal.

If the flag, she reasoned, was a source of pain for others then why would she try to argue that it’s not? There was simply no good reason for it to fly beyond sentimental value. Given the reality of the pain and divisiveness the flag was causing(whether appropriate or not), was sentimental value really worth standing up for?

Of course not.

Regardless of your party affiliation, you must respect what Gov. Haley did.

In a point in time where politicians have no sense of compromise, fight fights that don’t really matter, and seek, above all, to placate a base, Nikki Haley chose to do the right thing. In an era where conservatives and liberals stand at opposing ends of a spectrum and fight about issues that don’t deserve an ounce of attention, Nikki Haley crossed the isle and did the right thing. She led.

What a breath of fresh air.

As leaders we must weigh both sides of an argument. We must act with compassion and consider the people involved in our decisions. We must do whatever it takes to unite those we lead. And, we must, above all, do the right thing.


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