It didn’t take long after Ted Cruz’s speech at the Republican National Convention before media outlets, bloggers, and talk radio shows were furious that he did not endorse Donald Trump during the convention. His actions, like them or not, have some important lessons for all of us.
When Bernie Sanders was at his prime during his campaign, he was the anti-establishment candidate. He was willing to make statements against his party that caused millions to give him their support. When he endorsed Hillary Clinton, however, he immediately went down as a sellout. He endorsed the establishment candidate he fought so hard against.
When Ted Cruz didn’t endorse Trump, he stood on his principles. He didn’t fold to the pressure of Trump’s supporters, party officials, or popular opinion. He stood his ground, promoted his values, and made it clear that he would not formally endorse Trump.
The problem with this choice is that he vowed with the other candidates that he would endorse and support whoever the nominee was. His failure to endorse Trump not only demonstrated his courage to stand on his principles, but his lack of integrity. He played the political game, gave into Trump’s school yard tactics, and he lost.
What can we learn from what happened at the RNC?
- Stand on your principles. Regardless of his motives, Cruz demonstrated that standing up for something doesn’t come without criticism. He was booed from the stage and criticized across the nation. Many people did not like his lack of endorsement, but like many people in history who made an impact on the world, Cruz stood up to the pressure.
- Maintain your integrity. Leaders who can’t be trusted at their word, are not going to effectively lead for long. Your people need to know that when you say you are going to do something, you do it. When you lose their trust, you lose their loyalty.
- Don’t make quick commitments. Cruz and several other candidates all agreed that they would support the eventual nominee for the Republican Party during the first debate. Trump, on the other hand, did not make that commitment. He reserved the opportunity to run as an independent. Like it or not, at least his decision not to commit was one that would have kept his integrity intact if he wasn’t the nominee.
Question: What other leadership lessons can we learn from the RNC and this election period? You can leave a comment by clicking here.