Leadership is not a naturally occurring trait. It is learned through observation, study, practice and experience. The same can be said for effective communication. Often, leadership skills and communication skills go hand in hand. One can rarely execute a leadership role well without first employing excellent communication practices with subordinates and peers. 

Recent events suggest some Winter Haven city commissioners are unaware of the inextricable link between these critical skill sets. Rather than lead responsibly or communicate effectively, some commissioners seem to believe problems can be resolved by lashing out like a petulant child. 

This lack of managerial bearing was especially noticeable in the unwarranted and unwise attacks recently launched against their former city manager. With recent performance reviews showing reasonable but not stellar marks, the city manager might very well benefit from one-on-one sit downs with each commissioner to discuss how they might work more effectively together.

But firing an employee to correct a problem that is at least 50 percent owned by the commissioners is ridiculous. Worse, it’s an ego-driven high dive into a very expensive morass of trouble that could easily be avoided with a simple conversation. 

This is local government at its worst. If the offending commissioners had any sense, they would be ashamed of themselves. 

The residents of Winter Haven deserve responsible leadership. It remains to be seen whether either will be forthcoming.

Jamie Beckett 

Winter Haven