In my last post I reflectively identified the attributes that I think would make for the ideal politician. In theory the possession of at least a good number of those attributes would make a politician a respectable leader within the community. This raises the subject of leadership, another important issue in an election year. [1] How can we recognize leadership? [2] What kind of political leadership does Orchard Park need, or any community for that matter, at this time?

Without getting into a thesis, let me say that I don’t think it is too difficult to recognize leadership when we see it. In a nutshell, leadership achieves the needed or desired results, whether it is in the area of personal relationships, performance, circumstances or yield. We need not delve into these areas. They are, furthermore, the kind of results that directly impact others, whether for good or ill. Thus we can have good or bad leadership, or even experience an absence of leadership, depending upon the results that are called for.

As to the kind of political leadership we need, I would suggest that the ideal is sevenfold…

Servant Leadership. We need elected officials who exercise a bona fide servant-leadership within our community. A servant first ascertains the needs, interests, desires and will of those to be served, and is subsequently at pains to remain accessible, transparent and accountable in the course of her/his ensuing service.

Community Leadership. We need elected officials who assiduously promote both the sense and the reality of community. This cannot be accomplished by mere words, a mailing address or tax bills. It requires being responsive to and proactive in those things which directly impact the quality of life and sense of belonging and care for all of the various segments of Orchard Park – including their respective educational, public safety, business, environmental, recreational and cultural needs and wants – so as to manage public resources for the common good.

Dynamic Leadership. We need elected officials who resist the status quo and nurture a culture that is deliberately attuned and responsive to evolving resident needs, preferences and perceptions, and that consistently seeks to improve and deliver services that would be most meaningful and valuable to our residents.

Performance Leadership. We need elected officials who serve as positive role models, inspire trust, and set a clear vision, priorities, and accountability standards. By doing so they will create an environment that promotes exceptional performance and results.

Strategic Leadership. We need elected officials who employ short- and long-term planning which is transparent, conversant, integrated, results-driven and measured.

Cost-effective Leadership. We need elected officials who take ultimate responsibility for the administration of a smart and lean government that delivers the high quality services our residents want and are willing to pay for.

Smart-growth Leadership. We need elected officials who specify and oversee growth management strategies that promote residential and business development which is consistent with the fabric, character and services of our community.