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Looking for leaders



Humble. Tenacious. Real. Ambitious for Whistler.

That's what voters should be looking for in leaders as they head to the polls to choose mayor and council on November 19.

So said local leadership guru Dr. Rosie Steeves.

She said there's a dearth of true leadership in the country and across the world from the highest levels in big corporations to the smallest rural businesses. That void is permeating throughout the citizenry, leaving employees ambivalent about their jobs, and people uninspired.

Research shows that in Canada, 58 per cent of employees are disengaged, "checked out" in one way or another. That disengagement comes at a huge financial cost for companies and organizations in lost productivity.

So how can voters pick true leaders? What should they be looking for?

"Certainly a leader that has a secure sense of self, they know who they are, they're not out to prove anything, the standard egoless stuff," said Steeves. "Humility but with a tenacity. Ambitious for Whistler, ambitious for their community. And willing to get over themselves, to accept that they may not have the answers but they are absolutely superb at bringing people together and finding the answers in a collaborative way. Being able to work in a world of not just right or wrong, or black and white, but somewhere else. And be able to find solutions that maybe nobody had ever thought of."

Steeves will be facilitating a workshop put on by the Whistler Forum on Monday Oct. 17 from 3 to 8 p.m. Part of the workshop will include a presentation on a leadership framework which will help participants do a personal leadership audit.

It has seven so-called frames from "diplomat" to "alchemist" - the former avoids overt conflict and rarely rocks the boat, the latter generates social transformations, Apple CEO Steve Jobs for example.

This week Pique asked the three mayoral candidates where they see themselves in this leadership framework and why.

Mayor Ken Melamed pointed to four areas in the framework: strategist, achiever, expert and individualist.

"Three of the best examples of my leadership have been the years in pursuit of resident housing, resort funding tools from the province and the delivery of the Games."

He added that Canadian mayors, unlike mayors in other countries, do not have unilateral decision-making authority.

"The skill set requires us to be good listeners, coaches and even-tempered. We lead by staying true to our values and vision, building trust, and the respectful inclusion of the members of the teams with which we work. Aside from a small number of staff, we do not get to choose who we work with, so it is important to be inclusive and diplomatic. Compromise is the art of government."