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Howard Gardner
Scholar

Howard Gardner

Howard Gardner is the Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Senior Director of Harvard Project Zero.

The Playboy, the Leader

What we can learn about leadership from Ted Kennedy:

l. You can grow tremendously, even if you were a playboy. Coming from American
"royalty," Kennedy became an excellent legislator. The comparisons with his own brothers, the Rockefellers (especially Nelson), and the Bush sons are instructive. Of course if you come from royalty, you are afforded a lot more second chances.

2. You can grow more as a political leader than as a personal role model for others. Until his second marriage, when he was 60, Ted Kennedy was scarcely a positive role model for young males.

3. You can have strong political beliefs and still work well with those of a contrasting political belief system. Ted Kennedy drafted legislation with Republicans and also
was able to remain on good personal terms with them. His was an incorporative rather than a divisive style.

4. When you have messed up in some aspect of your life, you lose credibility on that topic. Because of his womanizing, Ted Kennedy evinced a pained silence throughout the Clarence Thomas hearings.

5. Even if you do not attain the top prize, you can become a figure of historical
importance. Like Daniel Webster or Henry Clay, Ted Kennedy will be remembered
far more than several of our less distinguished occupants of the White House.

By Howard Gardner

 |  August 27, 2009; 11:15 AM ET
Category:  Leadership personalities Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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