“Great leaders are not defined by the absence of weakness, but rather by the presence of clear strengths.” John Peter Zenger
While most people have never heard of John Peter Zenger, they may have heard the latter quote or something akin to it. Zenger was an important figure in American history as the printer of the “New York Weekly Journal” and was famously sued by colonial governor William Crosby for libel. When he was acquitted he became a symbol for the freedom of the press.
Zenger was German immigrant to the American Colonies. Zenger and his family immigrated in 1710 as part of a large German Palatines group. The colonial Governor promised all of the children in the group an education and Zenger worked under the first printer in the American Colonies, William Bradford.
It was in 1773 that Zenger printed the article that would cause Crosby to sue him. Cosby wasn’t satisfied with is salary and couldn’t control the local government so he removed one of the judges and placed someone friendly to his party in the former judge’s seat.
Zenger and his paper being part of the opposing party, continued to print articles disagreeing with Cosby’s actions. Alexander Hamilton and William Smith Sr were his lawyers and eventually winning the libel suit against Zenger.
“Every time you have to speak, you are auditioning for leadership.”
James C. Humes is most famously known as a presidential speechwriter. He has served as a communications advisor to major U.S. corporations, including IBM and DuPont. He is the author of twenty-three other books.
Humes wrote speeches for presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Gerald Ford, and Dwight Eisenhower. Before his speechwriting career, he represented the U.S. State Department in lectures on American government all over the world. He has served as a communications advisor to major U.S. corporations, including IBM and DuPont. Mr. Humes is a well known author, most famously for Confessions of a White House Ghost Writer (Regnery Publishing) and the Pulitzer Prize-nominated Churchill: Speaker of the Century.
One of the last living Americans to have met Sir Winston Churchill in person, Mr. Humes has played Sir Churchill on stage and at numerous events. Mr. Humes lives in Pueblo, Colorado.
As James Humes once said, “The art of communication is the language of leadership.” If you want to be a leader, you must be a presenter that connects with the audience and delivers a memorable message.
Patrick James Riley, born in1945, is an American professional basketball executive, and also a former coach as well as a player in the National Basketball Association. He has been the team president of the Miami Heat since 1995 as well as head coach in two separate tenures.
Know as one of the elite few among NBA coaches, Riley has served as the head coach of five championship teams. He won four with the Los Angeles Lakers during their Showtime era in the 1980s. And also one with the Miami Heat in 2006.
In 1996, he was named one of the 10 Greatest Coaches in NBA history. He played for the Lakers’ championship team in 1972 as well. Riley won the 2012 and 2013 NBA championships with the Heat as their team president. He also received the Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award from the NBA Coaches Association.
Riley has been quoted as saying that, “To have long term success as a coach or in any position of leadership, you have to be obsessed in some way.” Clearly, his healthy obsession with the game lead him to become one of the great leaders in NBA history.
He was named NBA Coach of the Year three times. He was head coach of an NBA All-Star Game team nine times. Amazingly, he is the first North American sports figure to win a championship as a player, assistant coach, head coach, and as an executive.
Grace Brewster Murray Hopper was an American computer scientist and United States Navy rear admiral. One of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer, she was a pioneer of computer programming who invented one of the first compiler related tools. She popularized the idea of machine-independent programming languages, which led to the development of COBOL, an early high-level programming language still in use today.
Hopper had attempted to enlist in the Navy during World War II, but she was rejected by the military because she was 34 years of age and too old to enlist. She instead joined the Navy Reserves. Hopper began her computing career when she worked on the Harvard Mark I team that was led by Howard H. Aiken.
Owing to her accomplishments and her naval rank, she was sometimes referred to as “Amazing Grace”. The U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Hopper was named for her, as was the Cray XE6 “Hopper” supercomputer at NERSC. During her lifetime, Hopper was awarded 40 honorary degrees from universities across the world. A college at Yale University is named in her honor. In 1991, she received the National Medal of Technology. On November 22, 2016, she was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.
Rear Admiral “Amazing” Grace Hooper is well known for having said of leadership, “You manage things; you lead people.”
He is the author of over seventy books that have been translated into dozens of languages. His popular books are Earn What You’re Really Worth, Eat That Frog!, and The Psychology of Achievement.
Brian Tracy is the Chairman and Chief executive officer of Brian Tracy International, a company he founded in 1984 in Vancouver, Canada. Brian Tracy International sells counseling on leadership, selling, self-esteem, goals, strategy, creativity, and success psychology. The company is headquartered in Bankers Hill, San Diego, California.
Prior to founding his company, Brian had served as the Chief Operating Officer of a development company. He serves as the President of three companies headquartered in Solana Beach, California. He teaches sales, time management, personal development and leadership. He is the author of around seventy books.
Tracy is well known for saying: “Become the kind of leader that people would follow voluntarily; even if you had no title or position.”
In this brief, but important thought Tracy notes a common misstep of fledgling and experienced leaders alike—that one cannot lead based solely on the merit of their position alone. No leader will get the best out of people are who are only motivated by the fact that someone else is in charge. In the business world the best work usually doesn’t come from employees who are motivated solely by the hierarchy and the fear of job loss. With volunteers it is doubly important to be a leader people want to follow, that leader should “live the cause” so to speak. The burden of the leader is to inspire good works.
“The very essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision. It’s got to be a vision you articulate clearly and forcefully on every occasion. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet.”
~ Rev. Hesburgh
Hesburgh’s leadership style is well described by his famous quote on vision. This can most vividly be observed in his life through his work with the University of Notre Dame in making it more than an athletically excellent American University.
Theodore Martin Hesburgh, was a native of Syracuse, New York, who became an ordained priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross and is best known for his service as the president of the University of Notre Dame for thirty-five years (1952–1987).
In addition to his career as an educator and author, Hesburgh was a public servant and social activist involved in numerous American civic and governmental initiatives, commissions, and international humanitarian projects. Hesburgh received numerous honors and awards for his service, most notably the United States’s Medal of Freedom (1964) and Congressional Gold Medal (2000). As of 2013, he also held the world’s record for the individual with most honorary degrees with more than 150.
Hesburgh is credited with bringing Notre Dame, long known for its football program, to the forefront of American Catholic universities and its transition to a nationally respected institution of higher education. He supervised the university’s dramatic growth, as well as the successful transfer of its ownership from Holy Cross priests to the Notre Dame Board of Trustees in 1967. During his tenure as president, the university also became a coeducational institution. In addition to his service to Notre Dame, Hesburgh held leadership positions in numerous groups involved in civil rights, peaceful uses of atomic energy, immigration reform, and Third World development. Hesburgh was also active on the boards of numerous business, nonprofit, civic organizations, and Vatican missions.