My life has been embroiled with leadership roles for most of my adult life. The challenge to unite people, square off with great threats, achieve great gains for the organization and to resolve to press against the ever-present vehemently vicious critic are all a test of the metal that a leader is made. Reading and watching great leaders in action inspires me to keep leading with determination.
One of the great leaders in my life time has a Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. Visiting this museum and library of this leader was on my life list. I was able to check it off with great satisfaction.
After entering the gorgeous grounds with breathtaking views, I remember pausing long at a portrait of President Ronald Reagan as he walked down one of the halls of the White House. There is something special about leadership that can never be taught and this President possessed it in generous quantity. It is called “leadership presence.”
There is very little about “leadership presence” that is external. Instead, it is what exists in the soul of the man or woman who drives their choices, directs their initiatives and most of all manages the values the define their leadership commitments. Reagan’s beliefs marked his life and leadership.
When a leader faces pressures and attacks, he or she must be able to draw from their own convictions to make choices and decisions to protect and advance the best interests of the organization that they lead. That is what leadership is. Anticipation and reaction based upon a consistent set of values that others can follow and embrace.
The influence of this President was also balanced with a whimsical ability to engage the lives of international leaders from around the globe. His control of power was never carelessly dismissed but blended with discernment, resolve and vision. He thought the best of this nation and devoted himself to lead it to become better and more positively influential in the world.
If blessing is accompanied with responsibility, then this great leader acted well in light of the extraordinary blessings given to the nation by Almighty God. He could win the respect and cooperation of the opposing party, sooth the angry critic or stand stalwart against the belligerent opponent. President Ronald Reagan was a uniquely effective leader and one of the most remarkably gifted Presidents in our nation’s history.
photo credit: brucefong photography