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Anthony Fauci: a case of bad leadership ("me, me, me leadership")?

I must preface this:

This is personal opinion only, not trying to be neutral or objective. And it's also not part of a deeper analysis.
It's a personal gut feeling I got from seeing a few interviews here and there.

And my gut feeling is that Fauci was a poor leader. In a few occasions, plus with his bountiful appearances, he seemed more after fame than after effective policy.
And his communication was also poor leadership in the sense that he was far from a reassuring medical presence.

It hit me the hardest when I saw this interview:

Talking about Brad Pitt impersonating him:

Fauci: I think he did great. I'm a great fan of Brad Pitt and that's why when people ask me who I would like to play me, I mention Brad Pitt.

And then he keeps on commenting with a judge frame on Brad Pitt: "I think he did a great job, because he's one of my favorite actors"

This was in the midst of the pandemic. And whether the fears were overblown or not, many people were truly worried and scared. And many hospitals were being overrun.

And amidst all of that, this guy who was supposed to help coordinate the response was there talking about "who he would like to play him"?
Notice the incredibly self-important and conceited frame, too: the frame is that he deserves to be played in a movie. The way he speaks, it feels like he is going to be a hero in that movie, and he picks one of the coolest actors available to "play him".

Please note that a smile or a laugh can be good things as they help put people at ease.
But the way Fauci did was WAY too self-referential. That undermined trust and left people wondering "who the fuck is in charge here to take care of business for the people and on our behalf?"

A better behavior would have been:

Fauci should have avoided the question

Sure, he was asked the question on Brad Pitt impersonating him.

But he should have avoided even answering those questions and stuck to facts. That way, he would have stayed above the rumors and funny skits, and kept an image of a science-based doctor busy in drafting life-saving policy.

When he answered the question, he looked more concerned about his image, rather than on effective policy.
Plus, he started blurring the lines between official and serious communication, what he should have stood for, and skits and humor, which he should have been above.

A better answer:

Fauci: Yeah, I've seen it once quickly (notice: "quickly", I got not time for that shit), it was fun (just to close the topic with a quick comment, also showing he was not bothered by it and has a thick skin). Maybe in a year we can look back and laugh at it (= right now the situation for me is still serious, not yet the time for leisure), but now I'm 100% focused on healthcare policy and ensuring everyone will get the best healthcare possible (= my job is to lead effective policy, whatever some random actor does is not of interest to me. I'm here to serve you)

That should have sent the message that he is focused on getting the job done and that, when he is interviewing, he is not there to shoot the shit but to convey status updates and helpful information.

... And avoided being all over the place

Fauci was also all over the media.

He even appeared on a bunch of YouTube channels, including some comedians' channels:

What the hell was he doing on Lilly Singh "Superwoman" channel?
And later on Trevor's channel as well?

That tainted his reputation as a science-based doctor and, even most damaging, blurred the lines between official communication and bro-scientists talking shit on YouTube.
If you're the top expert, act like the top expert and stay above the fray. Don't appear on random comedians' channels and stick to official channels.

 

Matthew Whitewood, Stef and selffriend have reacted to this post.
Matthew WhitewoodStefselffriend
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Another example of not-so-great leadership during the pandemic:

Fauci does an OK on getting mired in the dressing down and "that guy is ridiculous" frame that Cuomo is setting up for a conservative senator.

However, by simply showing up on that interview without directly rejecting Cuomo's initial frame, he indirectly being frame as standing on Cuomo's side, and agreeing.

That leads the issue of Covid, vaccinations, and masks, to be a political issue, rather than a medical one.

Good leadership should seek to be neutral in all matters that are non-political.

selffriend has reacted to this post.
selffriend
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?
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