Hall of Famer
- Aug 29, 2001
A comment about ”leaders” from his address to PU grads
Sometimes they let what might be termed the mad pursuit of zero, in this case zero risk of anyone contracting the virus, block out other competing concerns, like the protection of mental health, the educational needs of small children, or the survival of small businesses. Pursuing one goal to the utter exclusion of all others is not to make a choice but to run from it. It’s not leadership; it’s abdication. I feel confident your Purdue preparation won’t let you fall prey to it.
But there’s a companion quality you’ll need to be the leaders you can be. That’s the willingness to take risks. Not reckless ones, but the risks that still remain after all the evidence has been considered.
The COVID Derangement Syndrome and Covidocracy that sprung up last year shows not only how fragile effective leadership is, but how bad we are at producing leaders. This is an asymmetrical issue. Bad leadership hit us from all quarters, including government, business, media, and entertainment. I’ll grant that in the beginning we were justifiably concerned about unknowns, but as the year wore on, when we knew more about the virus, our leaders continued with their “emergency” orders and did enormous damage to the country. kids still aren’t in school. The politicizing of it piled on. I’d like to think we learned important lessons about risks and effective leadership. But I don’t think so.