Leadership by Reagan

Jim Blasingame

Ronald Reagan was a successful leader all his life.

The evidence includes twice being chosen by others to be the chief executive of the Screen Actor’s Guild, the state of California, and of course, the United States of America.

Regardless of political orientation, small business owners should study Reagan’s leadership characteristics. Here are just a few to consider.

Leaders rise above adversity.
The son of an alcoholic, oft-unemployed father, and a seamstress/store clerk mother, the man who would be president was not to the manor born.

Leaders are not afraid to try new things.
In 1937, with no special connection or training, Reagan traveled to Hollywood, read for a screen test, and won an acting contract.

Leaders keep things simple.
Much of Reagan’s success was due to his ability to focus on the essence of an issue when others would analyze it beyond recognition. Expressing his ideas on the Cold War in the 1970s, Reagan said, “How about this: We win, they lose.”

Leaders put others above themselves.
As a teenage lifeguard, Reagan saved 77 Dixon, Illinois residents from drowning in the Rock River. As President, after arch-political enemy, Jesse Jackson, got a downed U.S. pilot released from Libya, Reagan held a ceremony at the White House for the pilot – and Jackson.

Leaders have the courage of their convictions.
When in his now-famous 1987 speech in West Berlin, President Reagan told the leader of the Soviet Union, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall,” many faint-hearts warned this was dangerous and inflammatory rhetoric.

Reagan believed it was the right thing to do, he did it, and millions around the world have him to thank for their freedom.

Leaders believe in people.
At a time when many held the ability of the individual to know what was best for him or her in low regard, Reagan proposed that only when humans are free to seek their own goals in life can lasting solutions be found and progress made.

Leaders are optimistic.
The last four years of Reagan’s administration was not without its unfortunate and ignoble moments. Even though he would’ve been justified in feeling melancholy about what history would say about his presidential legacy, President Reagan’s farewell speech was no less than a wonderfully optimistic gift to America.

Leaders communicate effectively.
When the man known as The Great Communicator spoke, people believed hi meant what he said, trusted him to do what he promised, and lined up to follow him.

Leaders make others feel good about themselves.
After the Viet Nam War, America’s first presidential resignation, and four years of national malaise under a feckless Jimmy Carter, Reagan made us proud to be Americans again.

And when Americans feel good about themselves, it bodes well for all people who love and desire freedom.

Thank you, President Reagan, for your leadership.

Write this on a rock... Leadership is the greatest quality for a small business owner to try to perfect.

Jim Blasingame
Small Business Expert and host of The Small Business Advocate Show
©2008 All Rights Reserved

Print page