Is A Finger In The Face Appropriate Leadership? I Think Not!


Whether you’re a Democrat or Republican – or quite honestly nonpartisan and could care less about American politics, everyone knows that pointing a finger in someone’s face is simply inappropriate and downright disrespectful. I am sure after President Barack Obama’s electrifying rallying call given during his 2012 State of the Union Address on Wednesday evening, he did not expect to be upstaged by a picture of Arizona Governor Jan Brewer giving him the business on the tarmac complemented with her finger pointed in his face.

Quite honestly, I am shocked, disappointed and completely dismayed that a seasoned political leader like Jan Brewer actually thinks it is appropriate to disrespect ANYONE let alone the President of the United States of America by raising a hand in a disagreement. I don’t live in Arizona but up to this point, I generally thought of Ms. Brewer as a fierce political leader who has strong opinions and defends those opinions at will. For that, I was actually pretty proud of her – we need a healthy debate on tough issues. We live in America where freedom of speech is a cornerstone of our existence and our historical democracy, therefore speaking your mind is commonplace. My disdain has grown not from her political ideologies but instead from  her contempt for other dissenting leaders and especially the rightfully elected President of the United States, Barack Obama. This picture tells it all about Ms. Brewer’s leadership. This type of leadership posture is NOT what I would expect from a Governor when she is addressing the President.

My consulting firm specializes in leadership development and this is a clear example of not only poor leadership (on the behalf of Jan Brewer) but more so of the cavalier attitude that is directed toward leaders in high office. This week was chock full of political news including the retirement of Gabby Giffords, who was and continues to be a great leader for our country even after a devastating attack and assault on her as a US Representative from Arizona. Leaders like Governor Brewer are setting a contentious tone that is not productive for our country, policies and rights to respectfully disagree. This picture of her finger raised when speaking the Leader of the Free World is an absolute embarrassment to our country and reflects poorly on her ability to respectably lead henceforth. Leaders have to remain impassioned by their cause but also maintain a respectful posture at all times. My last words on this subject…Dear Governor Jan Brewer – You missed the mark and you owe ALL AMERICANS an apology for disrespecting the Office of the Presidency of the United States of America!

Karen Owens is the CEO of Karen Renae Owens Consulting LLC, a professional consulting firm that focuses on providing intuitive advisory services to our clients that translate into increased effectiveness in their target market.

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