Learning Leadership From Watching TV?

yellow television with antenna
Lisa Hochgraf Photo
Senior Editor

3 minutes

11 traits of great leadership demonstrated by Madam Secretary.

While my son is excited about Supergirl starting up again this fall, I look forward to Sunday nights when I can watch Madam Secretary. The show stars Téa Leoni as Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord, who drives international diplomacy, battles office politics and circumvents protocol as she negotiates global and domestic issues, both at the White House and at home.

To do what is often a very tough job, McCord demonstrates over and over that she is smart, able to inspire and motivate her team and tireless in her pursuit of a better world. A slide show on the CBS website describes 11 key leadership traits you can observe in McCord's actions. Which of these do you already successfully practice? Which of these do you need to practice?

1. Be passionate about what you do.

2. Pay attention. " You can't lead if you don't know what's going on around you, whether that means what your co-workers are up to or what the people on the other side of the table are up to," the slideshow caption asserts. "Take the time to listen, watch, and learn—you never know when you'll pick something up that could save the day.

3. Avoid playing the blame game. It just wastes time and energy.

4. Be willing to compromise.

5. See failure as a learning experience.

6. Have a sense of humor.

7. Turn bad days into good days. According to the slide caption, "You need to be ready to pivot and take advantage of the opportunities that arise, even in failure. There's always a silver lining, so be sure you're looking for it."

8. Focus on doing your best rather than trying to be perfect.

9. Be flexible.

10. Delegate responsibility. If you're not delegating you're not leading.

11. Make the decisions. "Leading a team isn't a democracy, and while you can and should accept their input, when it comes down to it, you have to make the final call."

Lisa Hochgraf is a CUES senior editor.

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