Feb 17

Rethinking Leadership on Presidents' Day

by Sargent Shriver Peace Institute | 02/17/2020 3:10PM

Quote of The Week February 17 2020

On this Presidents' Day, we take our Quote of the Week from a piece of advice Sargent Shriver gave a group of aspiring young leaders in 1957. He was speaking on the topic of citizenship at the time.

Presidents' Day has us thinking quite a bit about leadership. Sargent Shriver believed that we all have the potential to be leaders, if, as he says in our quote, we are in touch with our highest ideals and "put them into daily practice." The consistency between ideals, words, and actions that Sargent Shriver describes are, of course, also what made him an exceptional leader. As a problem server, he was creative and energetic because he was driven by his values and able to follow through on ambitious goals, no matter how difficult. And with the creativity and energy came the ability to foster collaboration and inspire others to follow his lead. All of these characteristics made him successful in building the Peace Corps and creating the Office of Economic Opportunity (the administrative agency of the War on Poverty). Not only did he build these institutions from the ground up, he was also instrumental in guiding the legislation that created them through the US Congress.

We can’t end a post about Sargent Shriver and leadership without mentioning service. Unlike some leaders, Sarge was not driven by a thirst for power. He was the quintessential servant-leader. His love of humanity and his desire to empower others, particularly the most vulnerable among us, fueled him, and made him a leader that we can still learn from today.

Who are some other leaders you learn from and admire? Let us know!

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