Doris Kearns Goodwin Has Tips on How to be a Great Leader
Her insights come directly from U.S. presidents
“What I’m going to do in this class is to think about what makes a good leader, what kinds of lessons we can learn from leaders . . . and their failures,” presidential historian and author of Leadership: In Turbulent Times, Doris Kearns Goodwin says in the intro to her new MasterClass, U.S. Presidential History and Leadership. “As Teddy Roosevelt said, ‘human nature is the most important thing to understand if you’re a leader.'”
Kearns, a former Harvard professor and a legendary storyteller, explores the stories and moments that shaped the presidential careers of Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson—but doesn’t just leave the lessons there. Kearns Goodwin masterfully weaves history out of the books and into applications for our everyday lives, whether you’re a business owner, manager, public servant, or just trying to learn to be a better person.
The 15-part class contains practical lessons that just about anyone can glean valuable, actionable, knowledge from. In Lesson 3 (“More Important Than IQ: Emotional Intelligence”) Kearns Goodwin drops Abraham Lincoln’s little-known trick for dealing with frustration and unproductive emotions directed at others. Lincoln called them “hot letters”—and it involves writing a letter to the person you are angry with, but not sending it. During Kearns Goodwin’s exit interview with President Obama in 2016, he also admitted to using Lincoln’s “hot letter” strategy to manage unproductive frustration.
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