Leadership 101: A Remedial Course for Congress

Recently, Congress has failed to act on several important economic issues. Bills restoring unemployment benefits to the long-term unemployed, to raise the minimum wage, and to address inequality in pay for women have either stalled or been defeated, without any viable alternatives proposed. Coupled with the last Congress’s record of being the least productive in its history, you might wonder about the leadership re. economic issues (and others) in our primary lawmaking body. The Harvard Business Review has published an article, “Leadership is a Conversation,” that distills a truism eluding the current political bosses: “leaders who engage employees in ordinary conversation—that is, talking with them, rather than giving orders”—embody the style needed for effective direction in these turbulent, fast-changing times. Harvard offers courses in what it calls “organizational conversation” to teach these leadership skills. Congress could use such a remedial course.

John Howell, Editorial Director