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Paid political letter: I value problem-solvers

I value leaders who effectively solve problems. There are many factors in this kind of leadership. Here are three.

First, a leader who effectively solves problems recognizes the problem early. Catching a problem early will minimize the cost to the organization. A leader who effectively solves problems rewards people who spot potential problems and bring them to the leader.

Second, having recognized a potentially devasting problem, the effective leader takes responsibility. President Harry Truman had a sign on his desk that said, “The buck stops here.” In business schools they teach, “Pass the credit and take the blame.”

Third, the leader who effectively solves problems understands that one person cannot have all the answers. This leader listens to the experts.

Donald Trump has not exercised this kind of effective leadership. He knew and understood early that the coronavirus had the potential to be a devastating problem in the organization he leads. He is the leader of the United States of America.

The coronavirus has become a devasting problem. To me the most important cost is in human life. Now more than 200,000 have died. That is like everyone in Freeborn County, everyone in Steele County, and everyone in Rice County, Mower County and Waseca County. There is a larger group that suffers ongoing physical loss. There is even a larger group that has suffered emotional loss. I have colleagues, friends and relatives in these groups.

Donald Trump knew early the danger of this. As a leader, either he was not able to see the damage this would cause, or he did not care. On Feb. 26, Trump began his mantra, “This will all just go away. It will disappear, like magic.” Magic is not an effective business solution.

An effective leader takes responsibility. No other country in the world has this catastrophic death rate. We have 4% of the world’s population and 20% of the deaths. Donald Trump always blames others. He blames China. He blames the liberals. He blames the CDC. He has shown little compassion for millions who have suffered and hundreds of thousands who have died. Rather than compassion, Trump said, “It is what it is.” He is the president of the United States. The buck stops in the Oval Office. He made the choices. He is responsible.

The leader who effectively solves problems relies on others and gives them credit. Donald Trump takes credit for success even when he has failed. If Trump is graded on a curve, based on how all countries in the world have done with COVID-19, Donald Trump gets an F, not the A+ he rewards himself.

This lack of effective problem-solving leadership is not new behavior for Donald Trump. Six of Trump’s businesses declared bankruptcy. Other businesses have failed.

If you value leaders who effectively recognize and solve difficult problems, vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Vote for Tina Smith. Vote for veteran Dan Feehan. Vote for Thomas Martinez. Vote for Dan Sparks.

Joel Xavier