As I wrote previously, the CNN Heroes program should remind us of some of our most important leadership lessons. In fact, as I reflect on the stories from the three previous blog entries, I find that the lessons from these people could fill volumes. What follows is a highlighting of some of the leadership issues I see.
Leading by autobiography: Listening to these CNN heroes, I am reminded of the importance of what I have come to call ‘leading by autobiography’. These people truly move us, and their followers follow them, because of who they are. They reveal who they are, and they inspire others, by telling their personal stories of identity.
Leadership and charisma: None of these heroes are what we would consider skilled orators or individuals with ‘natural charisma’ (if indeed that even exists!). Rather, the source of their influence, and the source of their personal power, is their ability and willingness to speak from the heart about the things that truly matter to them. They touch us with their authentic stories told in their natural voice.
Learning from life’s events: Many heroes and leaders have difficult experiences in their past; often their healing begins with telling their story. As Betty Makoni states, “I decided to become an advocate because I walked my own journey to survival.”
For Jorge Munoz, Betty Makoni, and Jordan Thomas, the learning went far beyond any personal healing. All of them found their ‘calling’, their reason for being or their passion, after unfortunate events in their own lives.