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Opinion: Will government turn divisive rhetoric into united leadership?

The elections are over, and our country’s leaders should take a note from the best business leaders

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The U.S Capitol is seen on Election Day in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022.

Mariam Zuhaib, Associated Press

Americans voted on or before Tuesday for their politician of choice following a 246-year-old election tradition. A great lesson of democracy is that people can agree to disagree and that each person has an equal voice and vote in selecting leaders. This voting cycle has been particularly transparent with few other breaking news stories (natural disasters, notable transitions or military incursions). 

The ultimate challenge and celebration is that democracy is less about who wins and who loses, and more about how to turn this season’s vitriol and unusually toxic rhetoric into governance for all, not just the winning party. 

In organizations, effective leaders work to encourage diversity through participating in decisions, listening to alternative views and respecting differences. But diversity (divergent views) without inclusion (convergent actions) does not work. Participation does not mean consensus, being heard does not mean getting your way and respecting differences means sustaining leaders who have decision rights even when not fully agreeing with them.  

Hopefully some of the lessons of effective business leaders will show up now that the election is over as rhetoric that divides turns to governance that unifies. 

Dave Ulrich

Alpine