4 Hard Leadership Lessons Learned From a Fallen Weiner

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160829162720-anthony-weiner-2-exlarge-169Photo Credit: John Moore / Getty Images

Portions of this blog were originally published in July, 2013. What’s curious is that it’s as relevant today (to both Weiner and our culture), as it was three years ago when it was first written. The salient question is this: What can we learn from Weiner, as leaders and as humans?

Once again, politician Anthony Weiner has been caught in flagrante delicto.

It’s deja vu, all over again.

Just a few short years ago I wrote a blog on then-Congressman Anthony Weiner’s fall from grace (Is Weiner Nuts?). An upcoming, enthusiastic and much-loved politician, he was caught sexting pictures with a number of women, none of whom were his then-pregnant wife.

Confronted with indisputable evidence, he lied. Then he lied about lying.Then he lied that he lied about lying. Are you tracking this?

Weiner was forced to resign in the midst of much public shame and humiliation. He went to therapy. He was ‘cured’. He had a baby (yes, with his wife). He sexted again. And again. And again. Then he lied. Again.

It took legendary chutzpah (and not a small amount of narcissism) for Weiner to compete for the Democratic nomination for Mayor of New York City, the most populated city in the United States . But that’s not really what I’m wondering about; after all, Weiner has already provided ample behavioral evidence that he has gargantuan testicles.

What I find shocking, abysmally disappointing, and stupefying is that voters are ignoring his past conduct.

#1  Past behavior is the single most reliable predictor of future behavior.

psychics-1026092_1280That he is running again for public office says more about our society and its expectations than it does about Weiner.

Weiner will sext again and then lie about it. That’s indisputable; he has a sexual addiction. I have great compassion for anyone who suffers from an addiction, (and sexual addiction is one of the more therapy-resistant), but just because I feel compassion for him doesn’t mean I should ignore the implications of his addiction and vote him into  a position of leadership.

It actually means the opposite; true compassion would mean placing him only in situations in which he can heal and, therefore, be successful. Public office is too stressful to be counted as one of those.

What confounds me is that US citizens have once again put themselves in the position
to be lied to, disrespected, and betrayed.
This is not a likelihood, it’s a guarantee! Why do we set ourselves up this way?

If Weiner can’t be trusted to keep his word to the two most important people in his life, his wife and son, then what manner of magical thinking makes us think he can keep his word to the 8.245 million people of New York City whom he’s never met?

Anthony Weiner is unreliable, immature, reckless and untrustworthy. Personally, I’d find it impossible to put my faith in someone who, while making critical decisions that directly impacts the well being of me and my family, is likely to make his penis his number one priority.

#2  “You can’t talk yourself out of what you behave yourself into.”   -Solomonism #247yada-yada-1430679_1280

Do we think this is the best we can do? Have we just come to accept that our politicians lack integrity, and that this is okay? You know, boys will be boys? Are we afraid to admit we were ‘wrong’ in assessing someone’s character, so instead we’ll ignore it? Are we afraid to be judged, ourselves, so we’re just relieved that someone else’s behavior is worse than our own?

According to a poll from Business Insider and Survey Monkey, only 28% of Americans would stop supporting a candidate because of his or her infidelity. However, 50% said they would discontinue  supporting a politician who was caught with a call girl. Ah, so that’s where our moral line is drawn.

And as women who are repeatedly emotionally, mentally and physically violated, what are we thinking? How does our spirit suffer? Yes, we should stand by our man, or woman, or significant other. Yes, we all make mistakes. Yes we must be forgiving. But to say we’ll move beyond and go forward as casually as though we’d merely missed a freeway exit, or a sale at our favorite store sends the wrong message; not to others but to ourselves.

#3  You can forgive others, without forgetting yourself.

i-beg-your-pardon-1015982_1280It says we don’t think we deserve to be treated better. It says we doubt our own worth. It says we don’t think we’re lovable, or ‘enough’ or some other intangible.

It also says that we’re happy to make excuses for others so they’ll makes excuses for us when we make compromised choices. Is that what we really want to do?

(And don’t even get me started on the women and girls with whom these men are sexting.)

 

#4  If you aim for the bottom, you’ll get there.

Do we really need to pull a Weiner so that others will prove to us that we’re lovable, no matter dreamstime_xs_53303053what? No, I didn’t think so.

What does this situation say to you? Come on, argue with me, show me what I’m not seeing. Tell me why it’s acceptable for our moral standards to be so low for the very people who make the laws that determine our lives. And if you can show me that, I’ll show you another Weiner.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION: Leave your thoughts, ideas, comments below. I can’t wait to hear what you have to say!

 

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