Statesmanship…leadership we need more than ever!

A statesman or stateswoman is usually a politician, diplomat or other notable public figure who has had a long and respected career at the national or international level. A person who is experienced in the art of government or versed in the administration of government affairs. a person who exhibits great wisdom and ability in directing the affairs of a government or in dealing with important public issues. (dictionary.com)

I have long been a proponent of leadership skill development starting at the age of five. As I watch and experience the current level of leadership in our world, I keep thinking about one word – statesmanship – and how there seems to be a shocking lack of it. Of course, I want to make sure everyone understands that statesmanship is not about ‘man’ but about all of us, hence the quoted definition above including men and women. The words most powerful in this definition are ‘long and respected’. This implies wisdom. This implies experience. This implies learning from mistakes, moving forward and rely on the wisdom and support of others.

I would guess any statesman or stateswoman would immediately recount how they reached this status because of the support they received throughout their lives. You don’t become a ‘statesperson’ by disassociating yourselves from others.

Ian Waddell says the following in an article written for the Globe and Mail: “And in a world where democracy itself is being questioned, this kind of statesmanlike behaviour would surely be welcomed by the Canadian people.” (August 28, 2020). I long for ‘statesmanlike’ behaviour. Let’s move beyond the petty partisan concerns. Let’s stop with the name calling and the finger pointing by laying the concerns of our country on a round table, gathering the wisest statesmen and stateswomen and working together for the healthiest Canada for all. This is the kind of leadership we need right now. This is the leadership our children and youth deserve.

Preparing For The Unknown

Mere weeks before the start of the academic year in Alberta and much is still up in the air. The feelings and stresses caused by a global pandemic has left many people apprehensive at least and terrified at worst. My sense as we move forward is the need for common sense and leadership willing to make necessary choices for the future of our families, especially the children. I have watched many parents interviewed on television over the past few days as they respond to the question: “Are you sending your children to school in the fall?” For the most part, parents struggle with the answer. Some have decided on-line is the only way to go. Some have decided they are just going to run with the model proposed by the Government. School Districts are trying to be ‘all things to all people’ by offering both choices, or a hybrid of choices.

Regardless of what happens, this fall academic year is definitely going to be stressful. As we prepare for the unknown, I think of the times in my life when I did not know how things were going to turn out. I remember the nervous feelings in the pit of my stomach and the rush of fear I felt in my shoulders. In every case, it seems I managed to get through the situation due mostly to the team and group support of those around me. If the phrase ‘we are in this together’ or ‘we got this’ are getting overused, it is my sense they are ever more necessary right now. Let common sense and real genuine leadership make the decisions. Step along side the emotions (we still need them) and collaborate with the wisest in the room. Make the decisions and move forward. It is what has worked before and will work again. We will succeed.