Thursday, January 24, 2008

What if Hillary and Barack Took A Pre-Employment Attitudes Test?

After all they are applying for the Ultimate Job. Specifically, if they took the Workplace Attitudes Test (WAT) that focuses on bad attitudes or warning signals related to disruption in the workplace how would they do?

Unfortunately, they haven't taken the test and probably won't. They have, however, given a lot of speeches, written a lot, and participated in many debates. I think we can treat these like job interviews and we can draw some attitude-conclusions.

On some WAT attitudes there is no problem. For example, both are very self-disciplined and hard working. And we don’t have to worry about insubordinate because the President doesn’t have supervisors. Also, to be fair, let’s assume that anyone running for President has a strong ego.

But how about some of the other attitudes on the list?

Judgmental versus accepting
Vindictive versus forgiving
Adversarial versus accommodating
Entitled versus unassuming
Risk-Inclined versus cautious
Non-Traditional versus traditional

A look at some of these might prove critical and might reveal how well they would get along with others in the workplace or as one might say in the political world.

Let’s start with Hillary. I think it is fair to say that she believes that she has paid her dues and is entitled to be president. Slogans like “Ready on Day One” and “When I am President” suggest a modicum of entitlement. When commenting on the recent, heated debate in South Carolina she said that it was Obama (not her) who came ready for a fight. A bit of adversarial projection? During the debate she used a jutted jaw, finger-pointing, and aggressive statements. The “Washington Post” newspaper on January 23, 2008 has a column entitled “The Fact Checker” which rated some of her statements and gave them “Two Pinocchio’s” meaning “significant omissions or exaggerations.”

A look at Obama suggests a person who may be somewhat risk-inclined and non-traditional and both of these may be a good thing at this time and place in our history. He is not afraid to talk about change. He is not afraid to use boldness in his oratory. This can suggest leadership if the public is ready. Obama’s speech patterns tend to be reflective and non-assertive. He appears to be uncomfortable when attacked and appears to be reluctant to go on the offensive. This suggests that he tends not to be very judgmental or vindictive.

Why is this important? A President cannot know everything. He or she must depend on advisors and must work with Congress to be effective. At times those advisors or representatives are going to say things that are unwelcome. The voter needs to ask if they want a President who has attitudes that are accepting rather than judgmental, forgiving rather than vindictive, accommodating versus adversarial, unassuming versus entitled, cautious and traditional versus somewhat risk-inclined and non-traditional. For more information on workplace attitudes see

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