Billi Lee's Savvy Blog

Sarah Palin – Rogue as Role Model?

Posted in Uncategorized, Workplace Savvy by billilee on December 3, 2009

It depends.

Feisty, independent, shooting from the hip are attributes many find very attractive in self proclaimed rogue, Sarah Palin.  I confess that so many Americans are ready to put her in the highest office in the land, baffles me.

Yes, she is fresh, attractive and breaking the mold intriguing with a quirky of-the-people touch; so I get her appeal on a celebrity level.  She and her meteoric rise are nothing other than fascinating.  I applaud her gutsy, why not me, look out world attitude.  She is a role model for anyone wanting to rise above traditional limitations of lack of money, no inherited power and out of the ordinary place.  Her awesome self confidence and go-for-the-glory gusto are inspirational.  All of us working in the corporate world could emulate her…but just a tiny bit.  All her shocking unpredictability plays well in the tabloids, but not at the table.

Use your imagination and place her in your organization for a few minutes.  How would she do?  Who would her allies be?  Where would her loyalties lay?  Would her flashy attention grabbing garner her admiration, loyalty and support or suspicion, jealousy, and “just enough rope?”  Would she be seen as determined or erratic; a trusted team player or a self-serving opportunist? Would her creative syntax, winking and down home lingo endear her or limit her? 

As I always say: your goal will determine your savvy strategy.  It’s hard to tell from the current sidelines what Sarah Palin’s goal is and therefore hard to analyze her behaviors.  If her goal is to make money – she’s right on; to land a talking-head pundit job – looks like it might work; to become the President – not a chance.

Any time you set out to achieve a goal requiring the cooperation of other people you have to first determine who you need and then how to get their support.  Sarah Palin is appealing only to a small group of fans: people who will buy her books, come to her rallies, read her posting and even vote for her.  But they are not the people she needs to achieve any credible position in the future.  The celebrity “star” behaviors that appeal to fans are an anathema to serious potential allies.  She personifies “team of one.”

The lesson for the corporate world?  What works to call attention to us on a performing stage may be the death of our professional credibility.  Making a name for yourself must be balanced by a reputation for helping others succeed.  Stepping into the spotlight must be done with credit given to others. Reaching your own goals must be done in concert with the team’s. 

Many feisty, tell it like it is, I’ve-got-to-be-me! (and yet talented) people have been sent to my political savvy courses for just those reasons.  Someone is hoping that the talent can be harnessed, the personality groomed, and the individual turned into a valued and trusted team player.  So unless you are setting out to star on a stage, or any kind of notorious figure, rogue is not the best role model.

One Response

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  1. said, on February 7, 2010 at 6:47 AM

    umm… I am not

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