THE BLOG
09/23/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

The First Measure of a Great Leader: Picking People Better than One's Self

Although predictable, McCain's reaction to the Biden choice shows that McCain himself is really a complete idiot. Ditto for all the analysts.

It is as if no one has ever run a complex organization before -- hey, maybe that's it!

Critiquing Obama for choosing someone who is "better" than he is on certain matters (foreign policy knowledge, levers of government, etc) shows the shallowness and lack of patriotism (yes, a patriot should want the best for the country) of the McCain campaign.

Any expert will tell you that the key measure of a leader is the people he/she picks to have around them. A great leader picks people better than himself, and gains their respect and loyalty of such people.

I have been the CEO of three companies. I was extremely fortunate to have people far more skilled than me at each aspect of the business working for the company. Every day I thanked my lucky stars that they were there. When someone left, as occurs in life, and I had to step in and take over the role until we found a replacement, it became even more apparent how lucky one is to have more highly skilled people working for you. Actually, "you" is the wrong statement -- we were all working together for the company.

My major criterion in selecting people, however, became high emotional intelligence. I did not appreciate the importance of this attribute early in my tenure, but it soon became evident that there are many skilled people, but many are stunted by various psychological needs that reduces their effectiveness as managers and team players. For example, insecurities lead to unapproachability that in turn may lead to keeping negative information from surfacing early -- exactly the opposite of what the organization needs.

Both Obama and Biden have demonstrated high emotional intelligence. Obama just by choosing a person of such gravitas demonstrates his inner confidence. Obama knows that Biden is blunt, unafraid to surface the negative.

Obama has absorbed the slings-and-arrows of multiple insults and slights with a greatest of dignity. Obama is also highly committed to his cause, but gives no impression that his life will be over if he had lost. That provides Obama balance, another facet of emotional intelligence.

It is well-known that early in the Bush presidency, Biden went to Bush saying, in essence, "I know a lot, I've been around, I'm happy to come by and let you have all my thoughts and ideas, that you can use as you choose". That's not only high emotional intelligence (being willing to help the opponent), it is also the highest patriotism.

It is just one measure of Bush's low emotional intelligence that he did not accept Biden's offer.

I realize this is plea is in vain, as it is always more "exciting" for the MSM to criticize than to praise.

But, here's the bottom-line: criticizing Obama as showing weakness for picking someone better than him in certain aspects of government conveys only that you are complete idiots.