When Leadership Doesn't Start at the Top, Leaders Fail

Charlie Daniels
By Charlie Daniels | June 4, 2013 | 10:08 AM EDT

The only thing I have to go on when it comes to business is my own experience of the past 50-plus years, the first 13 or so dealing with booking agencies, transportation, logistics and taking care of payroll myself.

Of course, I only had three or four employees and we usually played 2-4 week club engagements, minimizing the bookkeeping and arrangements to be made. But, even then I had my hands full trying to stay up-to-date with withholding taxes, holding on to deductible receipts and all the things required to stay current with even a business as small as mine.

As the band became more successful, the venues bigger, the one-nighter schedule more demanding and the payroll and bookkeeping more complex, it became glaringly apparent that I was in way over my head and needed to hire some competent people to bail me out.

Truly excellent leadership is the ability to acquire and keep capable, trustworthy employees, the kind you can delegate authority to and get back out of their way and let them do their jobs.

When you have capable, dedicated and competent people on-board, one of the worst things a leader can do is try to micromanage their efforts. If they need your help or advice they'll ask, and of course you're always consulted in establishing policy and other major decisions, but staffing and the everyday stuff should be handled by them.

In other words, if they're not capable of doing the job, you don't want them - and, if they are, give them the latitude to do it.

The other worst thing a leader can do is leave an incompetent or dishonest employee or one who represents your company badly in a decision-making position, or in any position at all, for that matter.

A company, large or small, is only as strong as its weakest link and one bad apple can destroy image, morale and efficiency and, as painful as it sometimes is, that employee has to be let go for the good of the company and everybody involved.

The Federal government in many aspects is very similar to business. It's much larger, much more complex and convoluted and with much more reach and ramifications, but the same philosophy as running a business holds true, especially when it comes to placing competent people in the sensitive jobs.

You need the kind of people who can take the ball and run with it and, in turn, hire underlings who are capable of doing their jobs; it starts at the top and filters down through the ranks.

Eric Holder has been a disaster. His tenure has been plagued with one arrogant wrong move after another and has escalated into a full-blown scandal, which would possibly involve criminal charges.

The Boston Marathon bombing should never have taken place. These brothers were known, even to Russian intelligence, to have terrorist ties and they tried to warn us, but Janet Napolitano - or somebody on her watch - dropped the ball.

The Benghazi slaughter was preventable, but the pleas for extra security were ignored by Hillary Clinton's State Department and nobody wants to own up to the responsibility.

I won't even go into the corrupt mess the IRS has turned into and Ms. Lerner's pleading "The Fifth" only magnified its blatant disregard for the people who pay their salaries.

It may be executed and carried out at the bottom or midrange areas of government, but the responsibility goes to the top - to a president who propagated an outright falsehood about what caused the murders in Benghazi, supported an attorney general who disregards states' rights and selectively enforces the law, appointed an IRS leader who allowed secret police tactics to be used on the American people.

President Obama seems to be more concerned about expanding the size of our government than about running it and it has become a cumbersome, inefficient, overstaffed, repetitious machine with people tripping all over each other, with incompetent, dishonest leadership; the kind of government which deprives United States marines serving in Afghanistan of hot meals and cuts the medical staff at Walter Reed to keep this faltering entity on life support.

Leadership starts at the top, and when it doesn't, we end up with the mess we're in now.

What do you think?

Pray for our troops and the peace of Jerusalem.

God bless America

Charlie Daniels

See more "Right Views, Right Now."