Why I love Aaron Sorkin

Do we get the leadership we deserve or do we deserve the leadership we get? The distinction has been critical at various times in our history. War time of course, civil rights issues have been helped by strong leaders. Dithering and indecisiveness would not have been appreciated in those scenarios.

There is a line in the movie “American President” voiced by Michael J. Fox that has stayed with me for years.

People want leadership, Mr. President, and in the absence of genuine leadership, they’ll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone. They want leadership. They’re so thirsty for it they’ll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there’s no water, they’ll drink the sand”

The fact is we don’t elect leaders because of their proven decisiveness or even intellectual flexibility. Often the reasons are embarrassingly mundane and come back to bite us in truly dangerous situations. Like say a global pandemic.

Strong leaders will insist on capable teams who will not just support but also challenge. The head of the table is important but equally important is “who is in the room”.

We should remember that.