On Laughter And The Importance Of Leadership

Have you ever noticed that when you are sitting in around a table in a meeting, when the “alpha” laughs everyone else typically follows suit?

Often this is the boss, and I remember reading somewhere this is explained by some social-psychological theory about pecking order or something like that.

I think of it as another example of the fact that most people in the world are followers. It is really hard to be a leader, because leadership implies taking chances and putting yourself out there, which is scary.

But this phenomenon also explains why leadership is so important.

On the global stage it is hard to argue with the fact that America is the alpha. Foreigners follow our media, our companies and our politics.

That’s why it is not surprising to see that foreign governments are now following suit in applying the “too big to fail” moniker.

Hypo Real Gets EU50 Billion Government-Led Bailout

The German government and the country’s banks and insurers agreed on a 50 billion euro ($68 billion) rescue package for commercial property lender Hypo Real Estate Holding AG after an earlier bailout faltered.

The government and the Bundesbank have said that Hypo Real Estate, Germany’s second-biggest property lender, is too big to fail.

In these challenging times it is important for leaders to be principled in their decision making and in their actions.

This need for leadership is all the more reason why the “pork” included in last week’s bailout bill is all the more troubling.

The government had the chance to take a decisive step in the direction of bringing the country together to help stave off a deeper economic crisis. But in this moment, when the spotlight was shining and the microphone was in our hands, we faltered. Rather than booming with laughter, we mumbled, and stuttered. And although we did take a step in the right direction, because of the body-language, the message was not nearly as powerful as it could have been.

This need for clarity and precision is somehow related to the appeal of clean design in user interfaces, but I’m not sure that I understand Aristotelian ethics enough to make the connection intelligible. I think it has something to do with simplicity and directness.

In any event, as we head into the final months of this election season and beyond, it is important that we demand this kind of leadership from our government. The world is watching.

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