David Stewart is the author of the book, Madison’s Gift: 5 Partnerships That Built America. I had the pleasure of hearing him speak about his research on James Madison, our nation’s fourth President. Stewart calls James Madison, known as the “Father of the Constitution” for his part in drafting the U.S. Constitution, the most significant figure in our nation’s founding, other than, of course, George Washington. My embarrassment of knowing so little about such a meaningful individual quickly subsided when Stewart added that Madison is also the least appreciated and least recognized of our founding fathers.
Stewart believes Madison goes unrecognized, at least partially because he did not crave recognition like most of the historical leaders of the revolutionary era. Unlike the others, Madison had almost no ego. In addition, he had a genuine sincerity about him and was very cautious not to wound the feelings of others. Madison was an intellect, but many of his time were also very astute. What set Madison apart, according to Stewart, was “his genuineness, his modesty, and his good heartedness.”
Some could look at Madison’s lack of notoriety and claim this is yet further evidence that “nice guys finish last.” A more optimistic view, however, would be that this nice guy, who wrote the Bill of Rights, helped establish a new government in America, served as Secretary of State and then President, did indeed finish first. He finished first not only because of his accomplished leadership in the creation of our country, but because those who do recognize him, although few, recognize him as a genuinely good person who cared about others.
Plenty of leaders today are like many of our founding fathers, craving attention to feed their egos. But some leaders are like Madison, genuine and good. The genuine and good leaders may not get all the recognition they deserve, but they are remembered for caring about their people and treating them with kindness. How do you want to be remembered? If you want to be remembered like James Madison, show people that you care. Make an effort to impact people through your genuineness, modesty, and good heartedness.
Thanks for reading,
P.S. – Check out my website at http://www.jvearle.com and keep me in mind if you hear of any opportunities to share my thoughts on leadership.