I am a history buff and I enjoy reading about our history and the country as well. Doris Kearns has a new book out called “Leadership in Turbulent Times.” Given that we are in the middle of the election season for a number of Tribal leaders as well as the country as a whole, I thought I would write on a few of the qualities she describes as being essential for successful leaders.

1) Empathy is one of the most important qualities any leader has to have. If you want to connect with the people you need to feel their pain. The old adage still holds true that people don’t care how much you know until they find out how much you care. Sometimes our leaders say the right things during the campaign season and then once elected they turn out to be empty promises. Make sure you walk the talk. If you do the people will respect you and support you even during the most difficult of times.

2) Servant leadership is where you put the interest of the people above your own. As a Tribal leader you always think about how your decisions will benefit those you serve. You think about the greater good and not just what will benefit your family or those who have more political connections. This takes humility and if you remember where you came from once you are in power you will do the right thing.

3) Listen with your heart and your mind. Our Tribal chairman went to every single house in one of our ten districts and the people remember this. He carried the hopes and dreams of the people with him when was elected and they know he will always listen to their concerns. He has an open door policy and is seldom in his office with the door closed. Being a good listener is one of the most important qualities you can have as a leader.

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