Ronald Reagan on Leadership

Ronald Reagan


Ronald Reagan, called "the Great Communicator," inspired Americans young and old with his vision. He had an inner vision of himself that could not be shaken by the naysaying. Reagan's leadership and his vision of America remain timeless.

Lesson No. 1: Share a Vision

Be a dream-maker. From the beginning, Ronald Reagan communicated an optimistic picture of America like his great hero Franklin D. Roosevelt. In his farewell address, he envisioned America as "still a beacon, still a magnet for all who must have freedom for all the pilgrims from the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness toward home.".

Lesson No. 2: Have High Self Esteem

Ronald Reagan believed in himself very strongly. He saw life as always half full rather than half empty. Reagan remembered his childhood as pleasant and optimistic even though he was a son of a drunkard.

Lesson No. 3: Nice Guys Finish First

Reagan was called the "Teflon President.". People often disagreed with Ronald Reagan but they could not help liking him. Like Lincoln, Reagan attacked issues, not people. Like Lincoln, Reagan had a secret weapon: his sense of humor. He did not take himself seriously. Reagan disarmed the old age issue in his second try for the presidency. He said in a 1980 debate he would not hold the youth and inexperience of his opponent against him. Reagan always argued issues instead of attacking people.

Lesson No. 4: Work Smart, Don't Work Hard

Whether as President of the Screen Actors Guild, Governor of California, or President of the United States he worked nine to five. When he left the Governor's office at the end of the day, he would tell the people still toiling there, "It's time to go home." Reagan focused on the big picture in giving general direction to his administration by making the major decisions instead of getting mired in petty details.

Lesson No. 5: Delegate! Delegate! Delegate!

Ronald Reagan accomplished so much as president because he delegated so much. He believed in appointing good people that shared his ideological convictions and would carry out his policy.

Lesson No. 6: Be a Great Communicator

Ronald Reagan is the oldest man who has served as president. He was the "Great Communicator" until struck down by Alzheimer's disease. He honed his skills as a radio disk jockey, became a Hollywood movie star, and then a television pitchman. Reagan then became the president of the Screen Actors Guild, Governor of California, and, of course, president of the United States. Although he changed from a liberal believer in the New Deal to a conservative supporter of Goldwater, Reagan could articulate a message that could touch the hearts of the American people as in the Challenger disaster.

Lesson No. 7: Be a Decision Maker

Trust your guts -- your intuition. Ronald Reagan did not rely upon public opinion polls, accepted wisdom or CIA reports to make his decisions. Reagan believed it was possible to negotiate with the leaders of what he called the "evil empire" the Soviet Union on his terms, not their terms. Reagan prevailed at Summit Conferences that hastened the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Lesson No. 8: Stay Focused

concentrated on one issue at a time, he got the approval of his agenda by the opposition party that controlled Congress. He was willing to compromise to get his programs accepted.

Lesson No. 9: Show Sensitivity or Compassion

In 1981, President Ronald Reagan was almost assassinated by John Hinckley. While recovering in the hospital, Reagan told his daughter, Patti, that he knew his physical healing was dependent on his ability to forgive the would-be assassin. Reagan was able to do that. He was able to prevent a grudge or internal poison from taking hold of his life.

Summary and Conclusion

Ronald Reagan had campaigned against Jimmy Carter with the tagline, "Are you better off than you were four years ago?". Most people would have answered yes at the end of Reagan's presidency.

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