Home Case Studies Public & Government Sector Leadership Lessons We Can Learn from John McCain

Leadership Lessons We Can Learn from John McCain

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Keep a sense of humor – Although I never met John McCain, I am told that one of his most endearing qualities what’s his sense of humor. For a leader humor comes in quite handy. Few of us will ever experience the hardships of five years of hellish imprisonment, however we all have difficulties which a dose of humor lessen their stings. The ability to laugh is a handy leadership tool.

Maintain focus to higher level of service – John McCain dedicated his life to service to his country and improvement of the lives of others. As a leader we have multiple stakeholders with differing needs and values. Belief in a higher purpose, whatever the organization, helps us maintain focus.

Compromise is not a four letter word: get things done – A lot has been said of how John McCain sought to work with his colleagues across the aisle. He understood the need for bipartisanship in politics to achieve results. Results are the lifeblood of any leader. Coupled with results is action. It is said that the wheels of government move slowly. In order to achieve results John McCain realized that although he was no Pollyanna he knew when to compromise in order to achieve results with his opponents.

Be grateful – A leader only exists through the respect and appreciation of those he surrounds himself with. Successful leaders must be able to show gratitude, to be humble and grateful for whatever situation he finds himself or herself.  Although, John McCain had a reputation impatience, he also had a reputation for kindness many examples of showing how grateful he was for all of the things life had given him both good and bad.

Challenge the status quo – Much has been made of John McCain, the maverick. When he saw things like the need for campaign reform, or the need to stop the torture of prisoners McCain never simply accepted the way things are knowing that in all things there is room for improvement. This again is another indicator of the true leader the ability to be a catalyst for change.

Think about your legacy – Upon hearing that he would not be returning to the Senate, John McCain took time to consider his legacy – his accomplishments as well as his failures. He could look back over a long career of public service and feel that he had made a contribution. A leader makes a contribution. What will yours be?

John McCain you will be missed. An American patriot, statesman and leader rest in peace. The world is a better place for your actions, dedication and devotion to your country.


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