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Sat, April 20

Column | Emotional maturity is a requirement for leadership

My fun word of the week is ambassador. I’ve recently had the pleasure of some engaging reading on Facebook, which has pointed me toward getting an understanding of what ambassadorship is – honorable ambassadorship.

The first image that came to mind was that of the United States U.N. Ambassador from 1961-1965 Adlai Stevenson.

Stevenson is most famous for his confrontation during an emergency session of the U.N. Security Council with Soviet Ambassador Valerian Zorin during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. In this confrontation, he represented the interests of the United States – in fact the world – with a degree of statesmanship we hardly see anymore.

Stevenson was forceful with Zorin in front of a national audience by demanding Zorin answer yes or no to whether the Soviet Union was placing missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads in Cuba, just about 100 miles away from the U.S.

While Zorin hedged around the question, as any good politician does, Stevenson said to Zorin and the world, “I am prepared to wait for my answer until Hell freezes over.”

Stevenson’s approach impresses me because his performance that day was a high level of statesmanship with forcefulness, but he never overstepped into obnoxiousness. He never acted like a little kid sticking his tongue out at his counterpart.

As ambassadors, which we all are whether it’s being an ambassador in regards to our families, churches or employers, we need to operate with a certain degree of emotional maturity.

It also includes local government leaders such as the Kingman City Council. It appears emotional maturity is not a strong suit for several of our elected officials.

The public has seen the emotional maturity level of our No. 1 ambassador, Mayor Monica Gates. She has quite a tell when she’s perturbed with speakers who don’t agree with her at the council meetings. The eyes roll, the body slouches into the big chair, and she leans to the right.

She’s easy to bring to anger and has shown a propensity to exaggerate when trying to manipulate others into agreeing her way is the only way. She’s willing to blow things out of proportion to win a small political battle, such as the time she held an emergency meeting of the council to show that the city of Kingman celebrates diversity. It was an obvious ploy to embarrass Councilman Travis Lingenfelter publicly after a video was released in a personal matter of Lingenfelter’s before he took office.

Lingenfelter’s emotional maturity also needs to be questioned. He has shown a willingness to get personal in his ongoing political battle with Gates. Blasting the mayor on Facebook makes one scratch their head. “Kind of like Monica getting wasted drunk on a vendor’s expense account last Thursday (Aug. 24) night in Tucson at the AZ League of Cities & Towns Conference,” Lingenfelter posted.

Not exactly ambassador-like, Councilman.

When talking about ambassadorship, you leave out the honorable Councilman Stuart Yocum. You remember him. He’s the councilmember who addressed the council after being arrested for DUI and spoke about how these type of things tend to get sensationalized and that it was time to move forward. His jury trial is coming up in the early days of October, and Yocum is frustrated about the ongoing political battle of the sales tax increases and the interchanges.

Yocum went to Facebook to vent about his frustration when all he is trying to do is “the right thing.” As an ambassador of Kingman, he is frustrated “with this town’s lack of progression, and all the self(-)centered attitudes.”

His frustration level is so high, he also posted on Facebook that “(T)his town needs to get its head out of its ass and cooperate better than compete with itself.”

Yocum is right about one thing, but Kingman will eventually move forward. We’re just going to need ambassadors along the way who lift Kingman up and not bring it down.

I’ll wait for that resignation, Councilman Yocum, until Hell freezes over.


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