In South Carolina’s debates watching Newt Gingrich debate Mitt Romney was like watching Cicero debate automated customer service telephone prompts. So Romney diligently and proactively went out and got an excellent debate coach, Brett O’Donnell. And Romney went on to utterly neutralize and deflate Gingrich next they met, in Florida. So that’s a point in Romney’s column. He competently and quickly took charge of a bad situation and turned it around in an impressive fashion. This also nicely fits Romney’s preferred narrative of himself as an efficient fixer.
But then staffers started crediting the debate coach for Romney’s debate win and Romney responded yesterday in a way that reflects really poorly on him. He fired O’Donnell for upstaging him.
Great leaders are not threatened by great advisers. They don’t compete with them for credit. They don’t risk sabotaging their own effectiveness by treating worthy collaborators as dangerous rivals. Weak leaders, who are more focused on their over-sensitive egos than objective success, do that.