Richard Howell: The need for intelligent leadership |

Richard Howell: The need for intelligent leadership

Forty years ago, I worked for a small grocery chain in the Bay Area. It was owned by a Greek immigrant who had worked hard, opened one successful location, and, over time, expanded that to three successful locations.

He prided himself on superior customer service and the absolute trust and respect of his clientele. As the business grew, he promoted his best employees to positions of responsibility and they served him well. He had immense respect for them, checking on important matters and listening carefully to their advice. The business prospered.

In time, the owner retired, leaving the business to his son. His son could not have been more different. Possessing an enormous ego, the son arrogantly and uniformly demonstrated lack of respect for his management core. He seldom asked for advice or opinions, when he did expecting uniform agreement. One by one, senior employees retired and were replaced with “yes men,” not particularly good managers, but skilled at getting along with the boss.

Decision by decision, the company suffered. Stores were opened, then closed as failures, sapping the vitality of the business. Company resources were squandered on the son’s social position in the community and church. He didn’t attract the best employees and had no skill in selecting those he hired or promoted. He saw himself as a leader; those around him saw him as an order-giver, to be obeyed but not respected.

I wonder what has happened to the wisdom of the voting public?

Today, that grocery chain has passed. In time, the many poor decisions had robbed the company of its best employees, its relationship with the communities that had supported it, and it retained so little value that the stores were unable even to be sold.

I see huge parallels between my old employer and the plight of America under Trump.

Unlike the grocery chain, we have the power to rid ourselves of poor management and seek intelligent leadership. It appalls me that most Republicans still support Trump. Where are the intelligent and responsible Republican who embrace traditional Republican values? America’s had more than enough evidence that Trump is a cancer for our nation. Current Republican support feeds that cancer.

I wonder what has happened to the wisdom of the voting public?

Richard Howell lives in Nevada City.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User


Gerald G. Doane: What real leadership is about


The Afghanistan conundrum, from the beginning when we went there to kill terrorists who killed many of us to 20 years of nation-building and finally to a disastrous pullout, encourages the question about political leadership…

See more