P. Edronkin

Leaders of Contraction (II).

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A leader facing a retreat should know how to manipulate the public in order to boost its morale.

This can be done by demagogy, but then, such practices imply lying to the public and after the lies are finally exposed, leadership looses all remaining credibility.

The case of the Argentine State in front of its public opinion is a clear example: Argentine leaders for many years deceived the public that demanded solutions to their problems with superficial measures.

Public spending was camouflaged by means of money emission, which in turn led to higher spending levels and ultimately, hyperinflation.

On the other hand, such leaders tried in many cases to impose emergency taxes, painful social and economic measures, and austerity on services that could not take such measures any more at the same time that they did not accompany the public on such endeavours.

In many cases, public officials were found being bribed, or using public funds for private ends.

It should not surprise anyone that the Argentine state has one of the most grossly inefficient administrative structures, world wide.

When leaders under an emergency are unable to accompany their subjects, employees, subordinates or citizens, they are eventually rejected, and when such a thing happens, instability in a time of crisis grows, making the problem worse.

Under such circumstances, half-hearted measures, dishonest practices and incompetence have no place at all.

Groups and organisations should evolve strict rules to chastise such behaviours.

Organisations that develop such leaders under crisis are in deep trouble and must correct the situation as soon as possible or the retreat could well evolve into a chaotic stampede.

The main disadvantage of such a development is that it will make things costlier than otherwise. If a retreat is not controlled, more territories than otherwise necessary will be abandoned, and at a higher cost.

Retreating should be considered as a special kind of negotiation. In fact, there are a lot of similarities between these two processes.

A negotiator knows that he or she will likely not be able to obtain all what the represented organisation wants. However, a negotiator will look to get the best possible deal, abandoning some of the demands while keeping others totally or partially.

During a retreat, a leader must be convinced that the organisation will highly unlikely retain its former power, territories or capitals. Such a leader will have to develop criteria to decide what to cut and what to keep, much like the negotiator.

The difference between these two instances is that during retreat there could or could not be a negotiation under way.

Thus, a leader able to retreat should be also a competent negotiator.

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