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Guest MINDSETTER™ Deckman: Time for Sullivan to Resign

Thursday, February 15, 2018


Robert Sullivan

Its time for Robert Sullivan to resign

There are two basic types of leaders.

Those who lead to serve others and those who lead to serve themselves. It is often difficult to know which leader is which type until a situation arises that forces the individual to play cards that reveal their true priorities.

In fact, often times the leader themselves may not truly know which category they fit into until challenged.

The current president of the RI Young Republicans, Mr. Robert Sullivan, is facing such a challenge now and he is beginning to reveal his true motivations for leading every moment that passes in which he doesn’t resign.

I have been in many leadership positions and have trained and coached many who wanted to become leaders. In my case and in the case of everyone I ever worked with we all, sooner or later, face such a watershed moment that forces us to both decide and reveal the type of leader we will be.

Those moments are never easy and they are always very telling. Because it is in those moments where one has to decide if their actions are going to be about self-preservation or the preservation of the institution the individuals they are charged with leading.

It is those moments that define whether or not the individual is capable of leading with authenticity, integrity, and respect or are if they lack all three. In other words: Do they “Lead with A.I.R.” or are they full of hot air.

In my view, true leadership is a state of consciousness. And that consciousness, at its core, lives and breathes A.I.R.

A true leader is not the one who is the boldest, brashest or most aggressive. And they certainly aren’t the one who is so desperate to have their position that they will damage the organization and the people around them in order to have power. Rather, a true leader is one who sees themselves as a steward of both the institution and the individuals who they have promised to help prosper. They are the one who is willing to sacrifice the most for the benefit of the most, even if it is painful and/or uncomfortable to them.

Mr. Sullivan has made some very bad mistakes as a young leader. He was unwise to engage in sexual relationships with a member of the group. He looked and probably was vindictive when he tried to force her out of the group when things went sideways. He then lied to the press on two occasions and the media has the tapes to prove it.

Every experienced leader started out as an inexperienced one. All of us have made mistakes along the way; some minor, some disastrous.

Mr. Sullivan’s mistakes no doubt fall into the disastrous category. For that reason, he must step down…immediately. If he doesn’t then the group owes it to themselves to remove him from office…immediately.

Many leadership missteps can be forgiven. Lying to the group and to the media, and then sticking to it in the face of all evidence, is not one of them. Worse than his lying though is that he is willing to do so at the expense of the good men and women who gave him the opportunity to have the honor to serve as their leader.

Mr. Sullivan, you have forever broken the trust of those who trusted you. You have sacrificed your integrity upon the altar of the ego. The price you must pay is that you no longer get to lead such an important group as the Young Republicans because at this point in your career you are not a leader.

In the meantime, your lack of integrity is costing them there’s.

You have one chance to get back on the path of growing into being an effective leader, which I truly hope you do. But to get on that path you must get off of the one you are on.

You must give up what you gave up when you made your choices. Do your mea-culpas. Become authentic again. Get back in integrity. Show some respect to others and in return regain some of the respect you lost for yourself.

Take your medicine and meet your consequences eye to eye. Accept them with whatever dignity you can muster. Then use this lesson to transform into a real leader.

But you have to walk away first. Which I hope you do. Then, I hope you come back wiser and better. Because society desperately needs experienced leaders who have learned their lessons the hard way. Which is how we all learn them.

But please don’t come back until you do.

Jeffrey Deckman is the Former Executive Director of the Rhode Island Republican Party. He is currently a leadership and organizational development coach with 40 years experience in the field. He has made plenty of mistakes…and will make more. He can be reached at [email protected]


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Rhode Island General Election Voters Margin of Error: +/- 4.9% at 95% Confidence Level

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Wrong track: 45%

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Jobs and economy:  21%

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Changed for the better: 35%

Changed for the worse: 16%

Not changed at all: 43%

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Changed for the better: 26%

Changed for the worse: 19%

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18-24: 7%

25-34: 15%

35-44: 15%

45-54: 20%

55-64: 17%

65+: 25%

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0-11: 2%

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Technical/Vocational school: 1%

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$50,000 or less: 27%

More $50,000 but less than $75,000: 13%

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More $100,000 but less than $150,000: 17%

$150,000 or more: 13%

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American/None: 21%

English: 13%

Italian: 13%

Irish: 12%

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Latino/Hispanic: 6%

French: 6%

Portuguese: 3%

Jewish: 3%

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Excellent: 17%
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Cannot rate: 7%

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Excellent: 9%
Good: 29%
Fair: 21%
Poor: 27%
Never heard of: 6%
Cannot rate:  8%

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Excellent: 7%
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Fair: 20%
Poor: 18%
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Cannot rate: 11%

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Excellent: 6%
Good: 28%
Fair: 30%
Poor: 31%
Never heard of: 1%
Cannot rate: 3%

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Excellent: 3%
Good: 16%
Fair: 21%
Poor: 8%
Never heard of: 26%
Cannot rate: 25%

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Excellent: 3%
Good: 20%
Fair: 28%
Poor: 17%
Never heard of: 13%
Cannot rate: 19%

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Excellent: 4%
Good: 18%
Fair: 24%
Poor: 13%
Never heard of: 21%
Cannot rate: 21%

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Excellent: 5%
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Cannot rate: 23%

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