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  Q Success: North Carolina Federation of College Republicans Spring Convention 2007 Charlotte, NC
by Yelena Pecheny
April 19, 2007

This past weekend, the city of Charlotte hosted the annual convention of North Carolina College Republicans. Among others, former Raleigh mayor Tom Fetzer and current NC senator Andrew Brock both made appearances and gave encouraging speeches. While all the speeches were interesting, I was especially touched by Charlotte’s own long-time Mayor Pat McCrory’s heartfelt discourse on what it takes to be a leader. McCrory has been Mayor of Charlotte for over a decade—the longest-serving mayor in the city’s history. No matter what your political views may be—Democrat, Republican, or just plain anti-Dubya—everyone can agree that competent leaders are a necessity in today’s world. And don’t we all want to be competent leaders? That being said, let’s examine some leadership advice, courtesy of Republican Mayor Pat McCrory:

1. Vision: What is your vision?

As a leader, you must have a vision for the future. All leaders strive to have a vision that their public can support. Leaders who lack foresight are not leaders at all. People are curious and questions will undoubtedly be asked. What will you change? How will you make things better? In answering these questions, current and future leaders should remember to pursue big city opportunities, but retain small town values. There must be both ambitious drive and humble virtue behind all the actions of a successful leader.

2. Be a problem solver.

As one with a vision, a leader must be able to see that vision carried out; therefore, a leader is a problem solver. You must help lead the way with ingenuity and unique solutions. But being a problem solver does not mean working alone. Rather, you must learn to work in cooperation with others in order to find solutions together. Those in the political arena should keep in mind that they are serving the people, and the people want answers—and low taxes—as quickly and efficiently as possible. Recruiting others in solving problems is always a good idea. Two heads are better than one, as the old adage goes.


3. Practice communication skills.

Communication skills are of utmost importance in any profession today. Whether verbal or written, communication is key to establishing connections and gaining support. During times of crisis or tragedy, as with 9/11 or the recent Virginia Tech incident, leaders with sharp communication skills are essential in maintaining public order. If a leader cannot console the masses with words of solace and strength, especially in times of crisis, he or she fails as a leader. And timeliness is crucial—a leader must be ready at a moment’s notice with the appropriate words and actions at the right time.

4. Be positive!

A positive attitude is always a valuable asset. When scandal besets a leader, a positive attitude becomes even more important. McCrory advises against the approach of former Democratic Speaker of the House, Jim Black, who was recently indicted on charges of public corruption. When you are clearly in the wrong, McCrory warns not to be like Black and “throw sticks and stones.” Don’t be more interested in power than public service. Machiavellian standards are not so well esteemed today; “it will be a mighty fall if you do what it takes to get to the top.” Be more concerned with getting the truth out and keeping your public happy so long as ethics and virtuous behavior remain your backbone. And remember, the best leaders are positive in every sense of the word.

5. Have fun!

Lastly, McCrory encouraged his audience to have fun. Good leaders know how to have fun in a friendly, responsible way. People like people who know how to have fun, and people follow people who are likeable. A boring or uninspiring leader, unable to relate to his or her public, will not earn much support. In the end, if you don’t enjoy what you do, other people probably won’t enjoy you doing it, either. Just look at Pat McCrory, 12 year-incumbent, and the city he runs. Soon, it will be the home of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, and folks will surely be racing—pun intended—to Charlotte.




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