“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”- Ronald Reagan
The last few weeks, we’ve been highlighting Presidents leadership styles whose experience was gained through their years in the military. This week, we’re changing focus to one who whose leadership experience came from an unusual place: Hollywood.
Ronald Reagan began his journey to president as a member of the Screen Actors Guild, an organization that was created as a labor union representing performers. Here, Reagan learned a skill he liked to call “round-tabling things.” While the others in the group talked up a storm, he would sit quietly until he had synthesized a response.
This was a skill that was extremely beneficial when surveying the people’s needs as President. Especially since Ronald Reagan was elected during a time of crisis in the US: economic crisis, national security crisis, and a crisis in terms of the United States position in the world.
Round-tabling along with his great communication skills allowed him to leave office knowing that prosperity had been resorted and the goal of peace through strength seemed to be within grasp. He dealt skillfully with Congress to obtain legislation to stimulate economic growth, curb inflation, increase employment, and strengthen national defense. He embarked upon a course of cutting taxes and Government expenditures, refusing to deviate from it when the strengthening of defense forces led to a large deficit. And at the end of his term, he had fulfilled his campaign pledge of 1980 to restore "the great, confident roar of American progress and growth and optimism."
In fact, the accomplishments and policy decisions set during Reagan’s eight year tenure are still important in terms of what the world is like today. There are also many lessons to be learned which are as applicable today as they were when he was sewing the seeds of those lessons more than a decade ago.