BLG Leadership Insights

When Self-Interest Is An Excuse Not to Lead

In the last few days the Israeli foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, maintained that he could not be involved in negotiations over the West Bank territories because he has a home on the West Bank and is thus a self-interested party. Mr. Lieberman’s lack of action can be characterized as taking a moral stand; however, beneath the surface, it’s a true failure of leadership.

Leaders who don’t have the capacity to understand the collective good and are not able to work toward it have no business to lead, especially if they are only thinking in terms of their self-interest. Indeed, the moral failure in the financial world stems from the inability of leaders to differentiate from individual self-interest and the collective good. In the realm of investment banking, many leaders thought that their self-interest and the collective good were one in the same. This delusion perpetuated moral failure and the financial collapse.