“Senator Schumer is a bad leader…. Not a natural leader. He works hard to study leadership and when you have to study leadership you got problems.”
Okay, Mr. President, I know you were politicking with your base when you made those comments at your Pennsylvania rally marking your 100th day in office, but please don’t attack me, too.
Mr. President, I make a living teaching, coaching and writing about leadership. My field is competitive enough without you attacking it. So please Mr. President can you stop talking about leadership?
I jest of course.
Just as you have been a boon for journalism – at least in terms of increased ratings for cable news channels and rising newspaper subscriptions – you are good for my business, too. You are a good topic for students of leadership.
For one simple reason. You have defied the odds.
Most often – unless we are talking about Third World potentates – politicians who have displayed so much hubris about their own abilities and so much disdain for the talents of others would have washed out. You are the man in charge, Mr. President.
Now act like it.
I know change is hard, Mr. President, but you have never shied away from changing your mind. And I have a way to make it easy for you. No, you don’t have to crack a book. You simply have to go to the movies. I have picked out three with strong leadership themes that I am certain you will enjoy.
First is Invictus, the story of Nelson Mandela, made by your friend and fellow golfer, Clint Eastwood. You will learn the story of how Mandela was able to set aside his personal animus toward the Afrikaners who had imprisoned him and instead as President champion the game of rugby as a means of unification.
Next up, Lincoln. Directed by Steven Spielberg whom I don’t think is a friend of yours, the film evokes our 16th President as a man who was bent on bringing our nation together even as the war still raged. You will see Lincoln as a humanitarian and storyteller, as well as a decisive wartime president.
And finally something on the lighter side, Hoosiers. You like sports, Mr. President, so you will enjoy this inspirational tale (inspired by a true story) of a small-town in Indiana that won the state basketball championship in 1954. Gene Hackman plays Norman Dale, a coach with a past ,who puts it aside to bring a group of kids together to achieve a goal that was beyond their imagination. [In fact, I am pretty sure your Vice President, Mike Pence a Hoosier himself, ranks this film highly.]
Watch these movies, Mr. President, and you will come away inspired, motivated and energized to lead with the grace of Mandela, the wisdom of Lincoln, and the tenacity of Coach Dale.
Do this, Mr. President, and you will give those of us who teach leadership even more lessons to learn.