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Archive: June 7, 2009 - June 13, 2009

Share Your Challenges

The more successful leaders I have observed do not tell stories of their great accomplishments, but rather of their personal and professional challenges.

By Col. Charles D. Allen | June 12, 2009; 10:12 AM ET | Comments (0)

When Leaders Need Friends

Lao Tzu said, "To lead the people, walk behind them," but notice he didn't say anything about walking alongside them. Honest Tea CEO Seth Goldman writes on how he's discovered a much-needed network of leadership peers via the Aspen Institute's Henry Crown fellowship.

By Seth Goldman | June 11, 2009; 11:52 AM ET | Comments (3)

Transparency Needed

We are shaped by our past. The question is how aware are we of our filters and biases and how they influence the choices we make.

By Gail S. Williams | June 11, 2009; 11:03 AM ET | Comments (0)

Bonds of Trust

Sotomayor must build bonds of trust with her constituents, based on the expectation that she will follow the Constitution and bring to her deliberations a deep knowledge of the law and an understanding of people who face hardships and barriers as she has.

By Patricia McGinnis | June 11, 2009; 10:57 AM ET | Comments (0)

Their Stories Are Our Stories

Sonia Sotomayor's story reflects not only her biography, but American history. Like Obama, she inspires us to reflect on her achievements, knowing that her pathways to success were forged by the devotion of millions during the civil and women's rights movements of the 1960's.

By Elizabeth Sherman | June 10, 2009; 4:06 PM ET | Comments (0)

Objective Interpretation

It's fine for elected officials to use their personal histories in campaigns. However, prospective justices should not boast about their pasts-their job is to interpret the law and the Constitution objectively.

By Slade Gorton | June 9, 2009; 5:52 PM ET | Comments (0)

We've Lost Authenticity

Crossing the line between selectively opening windows into personality and clear manipulation will send a public official tumbling down into the seventh circle of political hell, Spin City.

By Benjamin W. Heineman, Jr. | June 9, 2009; 10:41 AM ET | Comments (0)

An Unwise Boast

Sonia Sotomayor's statement about her background was a boast to an audience that shared her Latina identity, not an explanation of her convictions.

By Michael Maccoby | June 9, 2009; 6:38 AM ET | Comments (0)

On Being "Path Dependent"

Personal stories are more authentic -- and appear more authentic -- than stories about other people, such as the "welfare queens" demonized by Ronald Reagan.

By Jeffrey Pfeffer | June 9, 2009; 6:33 AM ET | Comments (1)

Roosevelt's Story

If you consider American presidents of this and the past century, almost all of our successful ones had a strong narrative which the public could identify with and made them feel understood.

By Warren Bennis | June 9, 2009; 6:28 AM ET | Comments (0)

Personal With a Purpose

Leaders need to connect to people, to move them, and if you are going after their hearts, you have to display some of yours as well.

By Marty Linsky | June 9, 2009; 6:23 AM ET | Comments (0)

Built on Experience

Background, beliefs, and aspirations help form the character of a leader. By sharing personal history, leaders such as President Obama and Judge Sotomayor reveal their humanity.

By Yash Gupta | June 9, 2009; 6:20 AM ET | Comments (0)

Biography Is Not Destiny

Learning about a leader's personal history can us understand them, but a problem arises when we make predictions about a person's decision-making solely based on their personal history.

By Kurt Schmoke | June 8, 2009; 2:50 PM ET | Comments (0)

Pride Without Put-Downs

Leaders who share their personal history can "humanize" themselves, yet it is important to focus on what you learned from that background without "putting down" someone else who has had a different background.

By Marshall Goldsmith | June 8, 2009; 2:34 PM ET | Comments (1)

Convey Your Character

If personal histories are perceived as self-serving or conceited, all is lost. If received as a window on an appealing temperament, much can be gained.

By Michael Useem | June 8, 2009; 11:42 AM ET | Comments (0)

Beyond "Boxers or Briefs"

The best leaders are good communicators, and the best communicators use stories to help others see and share a vision of the future.

By Ed Ruggero | June 8, 2009; 11:33 AM ET | Comments (0)

A Judge's Special Obligation

Ironically, by emphasizing Judge Sotomayor's personal history, the Obama administration and her supporters have created controversy that need not exist.

By Mickey Edwards | June 8, 2009; 10:41 AM ET | Comments (0)

Making a Virtue of Necessity

It is telling that the personal histories prove more salient in the case of women and minorities than in the case of white males, where it should be equally relevant.

By Howard Gardner | June 8, 2009; 10:29 AM ET | Comments (1)

We Need Life Stories

Our lives form a story of who we are, the road we traveled, the experiences that shaped us and our dreams and aspirations. Successful leaders draw upon these aspects of their lives to help others understand their thinking and to offer a glimpse of their humanity.

By Andy Stern | June 8, 2009; 10:23 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Most Natural Impulse

Voters want to like, not just respect, their leaders; this requires politicians to reveal parts of themselves they might prefer to keep private.

By Paul R. Portney | June 8, 2009; 10:22 AM ET | Comments (0)

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