It’s terrible optics for an elected official to leave his constituency while it’s in the midst of a crisis.
In a grave slip-up for an ambitious politician, Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s giving a lame excuse initially for his Cancún joint made him look insensitive. He was expected to stay and endure alongside his constituents, who were suffering from Texas’s recent freezing temperatures and blackouts.
Of course, Cruz didn’t do anything that hurt anybody, apart from drawing police resources away to shepherd him through the airport. Cruz’s argument—sensible in its own way—was that all he could do was be in regular communication with state and local officials who’re spearheading the crisis response. After all, Cruz has no formal power in the state administration.
As a comparison, King George and the Queen Mother declined to leave London as bombs shattered their city during World War II. As an expression of concern, and commitment to the Allied cause, they even visited sites destroyed during The Blitz of 1940.
Idea for Impact: Leadership means serving as an anchor during crisis times and being available, connected, and accessible during a crisis. Leaders can’t do everything, and they need to delegate responsibilities. However, entrustment should not entail emotional detachment.