Today is the official inauguration of the American President; January 20 at noon is when the new President must be sworn in or the country will be without a leader, officially speaking. As such, Barack Obama was sworn in today in the Blue Room of the White House, with his wife holding the bible upon which he swore his oath and his two daughters looking on. A simple ceremony compared to the pomp and ceremony we usually see for such things, but it did the trick.
It struck me that every occasion is a chance to make an impression and this simple swearing-in was no exception. President Obama and Chief Justice Roberts didn’t stumble over the words like they did last time – perhaps that bodes for a better term? The part that struck me most, however, was that his daughter Sasha said, “Good job, Daddy.” Recognition feels good when we get it and I would bet the Leader of the Free World is no exception. Quality time as a family is also important, whatever memories you may have to share.
On the topic of Presidents, I thought I would share another tidbit of information for you to consider. A large part of a leader’s job is to encourage collaboration and get everyone to work as a team. It adds credibility to your reputation. Of course, in politics this is not always obvious. Much has been said about Obama’s efforts (and lack of success in some cases) on this point. I know he has studied Lincoln and the efforts Lincoln made in his time to reach across the aisle and move things forward. Does he know that Thomas Jefferson used a tried and true method for getting people together as well?
Thomas Jefferson made much of his progress in building relationships over the dinner table.
Perhaps the fact that he was a bit of a foodie might have had something to do with it – his Monticello Estate had expansive gardens and even vineyards. But the simple truth was that Sunday dinner was a great way to break down barriers and get people to talk, without the pretensions that often come with pre-arranged meetings that have agendas.
You might not want to have a dinner with your staff; if you are an employee you might not think dinner at the boss’ house is appropriate. But set aside the roles and spend some quality time as human beings and you might be amazed with what you will accomplish. Hierarchy has its place, but everyone’s opinions and perspectives are worth understanding and considering.
Monday is the day that everyone will witness President Obama’s inauguration. It is also Martin Luther King Day, an auspicious connection for sure. I leave with you with one of Dr. King’s quotes:
All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.
That sort of says it all, don’t you think?