David Broder, Good Sense and Beggars & Kings

Posted on Tuesday, March 15, 2011 in Leadership

David BroderDavid Broder, the Washington Post reporter and syndicated columnist, who died last Wednesday, was one of the best-known political reporters of our time.  I enjoyed his columns because he was reasonable, intelligent and fair. 

Broder loved voters.  He once said “that the American people don’t always have all the information in their hands, but their judgment is just about always sharp.  You’ll find that they don’t make a hell of a lot of mistakes.”  Broder had a lot of faith in the good sense of the average American.  He was no cynic.

I feel the same way about the good sense of the average person about poetry.  Although I value the views and company of poets, my experience has been that an MFA in Poetry is not always an asset.  Sometimes I receive better feedback and suggestions for improving my poems from my wife and other non-poets than I do from poets. 

Non-poets, who have other things on their mind than the technical aspects of poetry, can be quick to say if a poem is clear and heartfelt, two attributes of a good poem.

Good ideas can come from anyone.  Too often in groups, organizations and communities we only turn to the experts and only seek answers from the leaders.  We act as if the persons with the titles and credentials only have the solutions. 

Maximizing the potential of groups, organizations, and communities requires maximizing human resourcefulness.  The beauty of honoring equality and diversity is that solutions are everywhere.  A task of leadership is to create a trusting environment where meaningful conversations can occur.

Another task is to get people to talk to each other who don’t normally interact. 

A third task is to listen to everyone — to learn to walk with beggars and kings.

Image:  The Washington Post

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