Just Listen

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Obama Loses Face

But now has the chance to be the leader we need and want

First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers go out to the families who have lost a loved one in Newtown and to those who have lost loved ones in the spate of recent shootings elsewhere.

Yesterday, President Obama lost face as a politician with an agenda and emerged as a heartfelt leader with possibly a purpose.  But can he keep it up?

In the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut shooting, we are a heartsick country.  When our most innocent are murdered by our most sick (and the picture is much more about mental illness than true evil), it’s time to realize that the measure of a civilization is not as Winston Churchill said just about how it treats those who have hurt it, but about about how it treats those who are hurting in it.

Yesterday President Obama took the stage not just as Commander in Chief, but Consoler in Chief… and that responsibility was not lost on him.

My read on how President Obama stopped being a politician and became a heartfelt leader is when in reading his prepared (by who knows who) comments about the tragedy in Newton, he realized that a huge portion of a politician’s identity is worrying about their own and their party’s future.  Then it dawned on him from a deeply heartfelt part of him that these lovely, cheerful, full of life and a life in front of them children, would not have any future.

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And in the moment he felt heartsick and he lost touch with any political agenda.  I also think he went inside himself and realized, “This is a real tragedy, on par with the heart wrenching tragedy of 9/11, and we need to do something about this… and I as President need to do something about this… now, keep your cool, the eyes of the world are on you, remain calm and reassuring to your country and those in the world who view you as ‘their’ leader.”

The challenge will now be, can President Obama hold onto that heartsick to heartfelt moment and lead from there.  Will he be able to manifest the key qualities of heartfelt leaders:

  • The WISDOM to know what’s important and be guided by that
  • The JUDGMENT to know the right decisions and right thing to do
  • The INTEGRITY to do it
  • The CHARACTER to stand up to those who don’t do it
  • The COURAGE to stop those who won’t do it

If the above resonates with you, please visit the Heartfelt Leadership Group, the first phase in building Heartfelt Leadership as a Global Community that Dares to Care.

Mark Goulston, MD, is the author of the new bestselling book Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone.

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