“ Children are the most important assets in any country. Any country that does not care for its children is not worth to be called a country .” – Nelson Mandela
On Tuesday, January 5, 2016, I sat in front of my computer listening to President Obama’s speech on Gun Control. As he began to go down a long list of young people who have lost their lives due to lack of gun control, I was noticing that I was trying to fight back my emotions by clearing my throat. But then, I watched as President Obama, a global leader, begin to wipe tears from his own eyes.
“And from first graders in Newtown… first graders.” – President Obama, Speech on Gun Control, Jan.5th 2016
He then adds, “Every time I think about those kids, it gets me mad. And by the way, it happens in the streets of Chicago everyday.” How could I not relate to this statement as a leader? Not only a leader but someone who lost many childhood friends as well as a young brother due to guns. I remember being at a church service in Newark, New Jersey-USA and a warden of a youth prison gets up to speak about youth and gun violence. He raised up a large pile of pictures and then proceeded to show pictures one by one of kids that were killed by a gun. And one of those pictures was of my younger brother. I cried so hard that I had to be removed from the church service. That moment and reaction in church is no different than what Obama’s towards those children.
We watched a super hero use his cape to wipe the tears for the lives he never met but vowed to protect. It was a true and authentic leadership moment being shown. Authentic Leadership is an approach to leadership that emphasizes building the leader’s legitimacy through honest relationships with followers, which value their input and are built on an ethical foundation. Generally, authentic leaders are positive people with truthful self-concepts who promote openness. By building trust and generating enthusiastic support from their subordinates, authentic leaders are able to improve individuals and group performance.
When Leaders make a strong impact not only in their local community but in the global community, it’s usually when they show their truth. It is difficult to hold a false character in front of the public for a long period of time. Authentic Leadership may be a powerful influence but it shows true humility in all aspects.
Obama’s humility in his speech and reaction doesn’t make him weak or less as strong as a global leader. It’s a character of preservation. It is a character that lets people recognize what you believe is important and making sure others are aware of main focus points. Leaders with humility are able to deal (or currently deal) with the enormous weigh of the spotlight, pressure, and emotional pull while tackling the responsibilities that are most important.