Crying Like a Leader

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

 Here’s an idea to help you strengthen your emotional intelligence. Reading time: 3:52.

     The four-star general –all 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds of him — was scared. Not of the battlefield.

General Norman Schwarzkopf
General Norman Schwarzkopf

    After all he led the US coalition of troops from 30 countries to victory in the Persian Gulf War in 1991.

     No General Norman Schwarzkopf was scared of even more than the demands of war when he became the first US general in 46 years to win a major war.

    In fact he was scared of those armed and– even  those UNARMED-who seemed less than human, especially when you looked them in the eye: They couldn’t or wouldn’t cry.

     “Frankly, any man who doesn’t cry scares me a little bit,” Schwarzkopf admitted to Barbara Walters on ABC television’s 20/20 program in March 1991. “I don’t think I would like a man who was incapable of enough emotion to get tears in his eyes every now and then. That person scares me; he ‘s not a human being.”

    Leaders cry.

    Yes, generals cry, Schwarzkopf asserted.  General Ulysses S. Grant cried when he learned of Lincoln’s death.  General Eisenhower wiped away tears when he saw the planes take off on the eve of D-day knowing he could be sending most of them to their deaths. And the Commander-in-Chief, President Abraham Lincoln wept when he visited the injured soldiers during the Civil War.

     The most effective leaders know that their tears–rooted in empathy and grounded in a well-developed emotional intelligence–are part and parcel of their humanity.

    Leaders realize that expressing their humanity (crying) and connecting to the feelings and concerns of others (relationship building) is the crux of leadership.

      In fact, a study at Penn State said tears in a man are a sign of honesty and another study reported in the Journal of Psychology of Men & Masculinity  found that football players who cried had higher levels of self-esteem that gave them a competitive edge on and off the field. Continue reading “Crying Like a Leader”

Public Speaking: Making Your Last Words Last

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

              Here’s an idea to end  your speeches with something more engaging than “Thank you.” Reading time: 3:54

        Last words linger. Movie buffs know that. I still cringe when I think of Anthony Hopkins’ cannibal character’s chilling last line in The Silence of the Lambs:

Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs
Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs

“I do wish we could chat longer
but I’m having an old friend for dinner. Bye.”

        And I always smile when I recall then 76-year-old Henry Fonda’s last line to Katharine Hepburn in the movie On Golden Pond:

“Wanna dance or
would you rather suck face?

        Yes, last words linger. That’s why I always grit my teeth a bit when public speakers let their last words just drop on the floor,  brushed aside and tossed in the proverbial “Thank you” trash pile.

       How can you can resist–the point of least resistance:  ending your speech with a too familiar and therefore too ordinary “Thank you? “

       Try these four steps:  1. Think of yourself as a drummer when you are concluding your speech. 2. Build to a crescendo. 3. End on a high note 4. Use short sentences in your concluding paragraph.

     Here’s an example of the crescendo finish: Let’s say you were concluding a speech to persuade your audience to take some action and you want to use an oft quoted poem  Life is an Adventure  by that famous author — Mr. or Mrs.  Anonymous.  Notice how the short sentence structure increases the pacing and energy. And so what we have been saying is that life is:

An adventure, Dare it. A duty, Perform it. An opportunity, Take it.
A journey, Complete it. A promise, Fulfill it. A puzzle, Solve it.
A goal, Achieve it.”
Continue reading “Public Speaking: Making Your Last Words Last”