If there is anything that the past two years have taught us, it would be the need for strong leadership in public policy. No matter where you turned, it seemed as though everything was spinning out of control and the saddest thing about that is that no two ‘leaders’ could agree on any solutions. A global pandemic and political unrest abroad have kept a large portion of the population uncertain as to what the future holds for them.
It should be the aim of public policy leadership to set clear goals to reassure the general public, but that hasn’t been forthcoming. If you are among those who recognize the ongoing issues in leadership within public policy and want to do something about it, maybe this could be a career goal to pursue.
The Role of Leadership in Public Policy
If you take a moment to look at a brief definition of what public policy is, you will see the importance of strong leadership in this arena. It is often described as a way to propose relevant solutions to problems in the real world. It is a human-centric focus that demands a course of action to respond to social issues. Herein lies the problems we have discerned within just the past two years.
What we have seen is more about Big Data than social issues. Think back for just a moment to the early days of SARS-CoV-2, Covid-19. What many people remember are all those numbers being bandied about. Every day statistics were updated on all levels from local to county to state to national. Even global statistics were reported daily.
Within those stats various demographics were also categorized and although data analysis was meant to curtail the spread, those numbers did nothing for the very real human cost of the pandemic. It is one thing to talk about the cost of healthcare and the search for a vaccine but that did nothing to address the cost to our humanity.
Few government leaders could agree on any form of mitigation, and this was self-evident in all the friction between parties and even within the ranks of a party. Clearcut decisive actions weren’t forthcoming early enough and that led to more than just confusion and stress. Some situations actually turned violent as protesters rebelled against everything from shutdowns to masking and then to vaccination.
If you are among those who recognize that much of the upheaval that we witnessed during the past two years could have been mitigated to a large extent by strong leadership in setting public policy, you can do something about it starting today. Have you considered enrolling in the Masters in Public Policy and Leadership program at Pepperdine University? The goal of a program like this is to put society back into social issues. You will emerge as a strong leader who understands that public policy is all about the public, that is to say people, and not just numbers.
Human Rights and Police Brutality
In the early months of the pandemic but not directly related to it, George Floyd was killed by a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota who was found guilty of the crime. The incident stemmed from a clerk who suspected Floyd of passing counterfeit bills and ended with the death of Mr. Floyd, a 46-year-old African American.
You can easily look up all the riots that transpired afterward and all the heated debate about human rights violations in this incident and many others involving law enforcement and people of color. While many jurisdictions have clear-cut policies on stereotyping and discrimination, others are known to turn a blind eye, as the saying goes.
It should be said here that there are areas of the nation where there is strong public policy guidance on all matters involving discrimination and human rights violations. There are even anti-discrimination laws on a federal level, but the federal government doesn’t send law enforcement to local jurisdictions unless it is a matter of national security.
With that said, the break in public policy and leadership may not be a federal oversight but rather that of more localized areas of state, county, and city government. Many of those leaders lack the focus necessary to be proactive in legislating and carrying out human rights preventative measures. Here again, perhaps what is truly needed would be someone with extensive knowledge and experience resulting from a Masters in Public Policy and Leadership level degree.
Many Levels of Leadership within Public Policy
Each of the above examples leads to an understanding that setting public policy can’t be simply left at the upper levels of government. Strong leadership is needed all the way down to local governments and even within the private sector as well. Corporations would do well to establish a company culture that is built upon the foundation of human-centric principles.
Perhaps the most important point being made today is that the purpose behind laws and public policy is to respond to the needs and concerns of people. It can’t be centered on financial concerns unless they directly relate to the human condition. Making money is not bad, but if it supersedes the goal of human welfare, policies need to change. For that we need strong leadership. Are you ready to meet the challenge?