Get a Life

By Judith Welles

Blog archive

Get a Life!: Leadership lessons from White House Fellows

White House Fellows have been a select group since the program began in the late 1960s.  Many of them either were or became among the nation’s top leaders. Colin Powell was an early fellow and Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s senior medical correspondent, was a fellow from 1997-98.
  
Some of their insights on leadership are captured in "Leadership Lessons of the White House Fellows" by former Fellow Charles Garcia.  Here are two:  

There's more to life than work. Great leaders are fueled by strong and supportive relationships with the people they love, regular exercise and setting aside time for reflection.

Doris Kearns Goodwin (White House Fellow 1967-68), presidential historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, concluded that those who live the richest lives manage to achieve a healthy balance of work, love and play.

"To commit yourself to just one of those spheres without the others is to leave open an older age filled with sadness, because once the work is gone, you have nothing left," Goodwin said.

Put your people first. To be a great leader you need to attend to your people with a laserlike focus.

Mitchell Reiss (White House Fellow 1988-89) has seen a leader's focus on people from National Security Adviser and former Secretary of State Colin Powell. At a picnic for National Security Council staff and families, Powell thanked Reiss’ wife for allowing Reiss to work the hours that he worked at the NSC.

Reiss recalled, "That very brief but very personal interaction with Powell had an extraordinary impact on her. After he left, she turned to me and said, 'You better do a good job for that man. If you need to stay late at work, I will never complain.' That's the sort of transformative impact that leadership can have.”


Posted by Judith Welles on Jun 24, 2009 at 12:12 PM


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