Nation Struggling With Lack of Leadership
A perceived lack of leadership strength pervades American society,
particularly in the areas of religion, K-12 education, health care and
That’s according to a national survey that asked businessmen and women to rate the quality of leadership in various sectors of American life.
Politics ranked dead last in the EPIC-MRA study sponsored by Alma College and its Center for Responsible Leadership. Only 8 percent rated political leadership “excellent” or “very good” while 74 percent described it as “fair” or “poor.”
“Whether real or perceived, there’s a critical lack of confidence in leadership across America,” said John Leipzig, director of the Alma College Center for Responsible Leadership. “Many people believe we are in troubling times in terms of leadership. We want our leaders to step up and serve us better. We hunger for strong, genuine leadership in politics and in all of these public domains that impact the quality of life that America has been known for in the past. Americans desire a leadership renaissance.
“The challenge for institutions like Alma College is twofold: first, change perceptions by defining and showing superior leadership at work in society today, and, secondly, to prepare ethical leaders with commitments beyond themselves to lead change and serve the common good,” he said.
The study gives the highest marks to the quality of leadership in science, technology and the military. Religion, K-12 education, health care and politics received the lowest marks.
• Forty percent of businessmen and women rate the quality of
leadership in science and technology as high, while 36 percent give
high marks to military leadership and 28 percent to volunteerism and
• Twenty-two percent rate the quality of leadership high in higher education, compared to 20 percent in business leadership, 17 percent for local community leadership, and 12 percent for religious leadership.
• Only 11 percent rate the quality of leadership in K-12 education as high. Nine percent give high marks to health care and eight percent to political leadership.
“The poor response to K-12 education, health care and politics suggests less confidence in the leadership of those areas that we entrust to the government: Our children’s education, our citizen’s health and the governance of our country,” said Leipzig.
Many respondents were critical of religious leadership. Fifty percent described religious leadership as “fair” or “poor.”
“The nurturing of ethical values is as important to leadership development as acquiring knowledge and skills,” said Leipzig. “Confidence in religious leadership is lacking, but the respondents in the survey have a higher opinion of leaders in the community service sector. The moral obligation of people giving back their time and resources in service to their communities seems to be resonating well with business people.”
Alma’s Center for Responsible Leadership provides programming and service opportunities for all students. Components include a Leadership Fellows program, speakers and seminars.
Posted: Wed, June 27th, 2007 at 9:12AM