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Fareed Zakaria GPS
What Does it Mean to Lead?; Fareed interviews Rep. John Lewis (D-GA). Aired 10-11a ET
Aired July 07, 2019 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FAREED ZAKARIA; GPS HOST: This is GPS, the Global Public Square. Welcome to all of you in the United States and around the world. I am Fareed Zakaria with a special edition, "How to Lead."
What does it mean to lead? The question has always been a fascinating one, of interest to people in business, politics, academia, really everywhere. It's, perhaps, taken on a fresh relevance, because we have in the White House today a man with a very distinctive style of leadership.
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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Nobody disobeys my orders.
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ZAKARIA: President Trump is a leader, just ask the millions who follow him unquestionably. Too many others though he is impulsive, disruptive and dangerous.
Trump believes he has been successful by his own measure.
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TRUMP: Nobody's done the job that we've done. I mean, nobody's done the job that we've done on the border.
Nobody has done more for Israel.
Nobody has done more for the military than I have.
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ZAKARIA: Next November Americans will choose to entrust Mr. Trump with four more years in office, or to elect a new leader. As the candidates battle for the biggest job in the world, it's a great time to consider what makes a great leaders.
I ask this question more broadly than in reference to Donald Trump, of course, and ranging far more widely than the realm of politics.
Can strong leadership skills in the battlefield translate to the board room? Are there certain personality traits shared by history's greatest leaders. Does leadership always come from the top down?
In this hour I will talk with Civil Rights icon, Congressman John Lewis, about leading through consensus during difficult, sometimes violent circumstances.
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REP. JOHN LEWIS (D), GEORGIA: You have to be brave, you have to bold, you have to be courageous. You just go for it.
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ZAKARIA: I'll ask Pulitzer Prize winning Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin about the character traits that make presidents great.
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DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN, PULITZER PRIZE WINNING HISTORIAN: I think the human qualities that make a person a leader, the ability to grow, to learn from their mistakes. All of those qualities, I think, are leadership qualities that you can see in a community as well as in the presidency of the United States.
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ZAKARIA: Bill Gates tells me about turning a passion into a mega- profitable global business.
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BILL GATES, CO-FOUNDER OF MICROSOFT: You really are forced to say, do I enjoy this? Am I good at this? Should I have someone else do it?
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ZAKARIA: And retired Four-Star General Stanley McChrystal says, Americans need only to look in the mirror to understand their current leader.
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STANLEY MCCHYSTAL, FOUR-STAR GENERAL: Leaders will reflect who we want to be. We need to look in the mirror and decide who we are, who we want to be, what's important to us.
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ZAKARIA: This is, "How to Lead."
Not many people can say they have dance with one president, deeply influenced others, and won a Pulitzer Prize. But, my first guest found herself sharing the dance floor with Lyndon Baines Johnson as a White House fellow.
She later assisted in writing his memoires. Doris Kearns Goodwin went on to write several presidential biographies, including a Pulitzer Prize winning book on FDR. Her study of Abraham Lincoln served as an inspiration for Barack Obama and Steven Spielberg, the latter who went on to make the related film, "Lincoln" starring Daniel Day Lewis.
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DANIEL DAY LEWIS, ACTOR: Blood's been spilled to afford us this moment, now, now, now.
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ZAKARIA: Her latest book, "Leadership in Turbulent Times" is a reflection on the leadership styles of the presidents she has studied so closely, Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, FDR and LBJ.
Although these men spanned a century of American history, Goodwin says they had qualities in common that helped them reach the highest office in the land. And while there is no single path for leadership success, there may be lessons for the current occupant of the Oval Office.
So, when you think about leadership, what do you think are the core qualities? Because I -- in your book the guy who stands out to me is Franklin Roosevelt, partly because he's a great favorite of mine, but this extraordinary set of skills of being able to listen to people, but then hide things then from them, manage them. That famous line one day he says, "My left hand never knows what my right hand is doing." Describe Roosevelt's leadership style in that way.
GOODWIN: Well, I think what Roosevelt's leadership style starts with, is he had extraordinary empathy, which I think is a critical quality for any leader. And I think it had expanded because of his polio. I mean, he sort of began to identify with people to whom fate had also dealt an unkind hand, as had he.
So, people would come in his office, and he would know who they were, he would know how to talk to them, to get them relaxed. And by the end of the evening, he had not only talked to them about their families, but he had gotten everything that was in their head about whatever issue he was interested in.
ZAKARIA: What about Lincoln? When you think about Lincoln, what are the qualities that strike you as most salient?
GOODWIN: You know, I think what Lincoln has right from the start is just this extraordinary humility and that doesn't mean humbleness. It means that from the beginning he had to ask other people to help him learn.
So, he scours the countryside for books. He reads everything he can lay his hands on and he never gives up that attempt to make himself a better person, so that he could acknowledge errors as he goes along the way.
When he runs for office the first time he's only 23-years-old and what stuns me about it is, that his announcement shows that even then he was very ambitious. They were all ambitious. You can't be a leader without being ambitious. But even then, his ambition was for the greater good.
He said, I have this peculiar ambition, I'd like it to be such that I can be able to win the esteem of my fellow man by being worthy of their esteem. But then he says, but I'm going to warn you that if I don't win, I'm going to try and try again. In fact, I think I'll try five or six times, and then I might be disgraced and not try again.
So, he had perseverance, he had that ambition, even then, to want to make a difference in people's lives. And then he just had this ability to control his emotions when he had to, writing these hot letters to people.
ZAKARIA: Describe that, because it strikes me as very interesting, these -- you know, it -- it humanizes leaders to understand that they get as riled up and emotional and kind of out of control as all of us, but they have some sort of self-control.
GOODWIN: I mean, with him what happened is, at the best moment of it is that when General Meade failed to follow up with General Lee's army after the victory at Gettysburg, despite telegrams telling him you must get Lee's army, Lincoln was so upset, more depresses than he'd been for many parts of the war, more angry.
And he wrote a long, angry letter to him saying, you didn't do what I asked you to do. Had you done so, the war might have come to an earlier end. Now, it's going to go on month after month.
And then he put the letter aside, he would call these letters hot letters when he was angry and then he would put it aside, hoping he would cool down physiologically, and by the time he cooled down he knew it would paralyze the General if it reached him in the field. He never sent it.
And then it was not even seen until the 20th century, and underneath was his notation, never sent and never signed. And there were dozens of these kinds of letters.
ZAKARIA: And you point out that Roosevelt had his version of this, which I was surprised by, because I always think of Roosevelt as having this remarkable temperament. But he too got mad.
GOODWIN: Oh, absolutely. I mean, especially in the late '30s, mad at isolationist Congressmen. So, it would take him like five or six drafts for the fireside chats. And in the first draft he would start actually naming the congressman, calling him a traitor. Saying, what his he doing to the country?
And a young speechwriter is there for the first time, and he said, I can't believe he's going to say these terrible things in public. And the older speech rider said, wait till the second draft, wait till the third draft.
By the second draft the guy's name wasn't there. By the third draft he was not a bad guy. By the fourth draft everything is sweetness and light, but he got that anger out of his system.
ZAKARIA: What about communication? They're all great communicators. Lincoln almost invents an American idiomatic form of speech.
GOODWIN: Well, the interesting thing is that each one is a communicator, understanding the technology of the time. Lincoln is lucky that, obviously, the printed word was king back then. Your speech would be printed in full in the newspaper and then reprinted in pamphlets, so people would read it aloud.
So, he understood rhythm, he understood, not just the beauty of language, every speech of his told a story, then comes the national newspapers at the turn of the 20th century, no longer are you reading just you partisan press with the speech in it, and you need headlines and you need to capture the imagination of the people.
And there comes Teddy Roosevelt with all those sayings, you know, speak softly and carry a big stick. Don't hit until have to and then hit hard.
And then the age of radio is simultaneous with FDR. And he has that intimate conversational style of speaking. He used to image a person listening him to directly, not a mass of people, but each individual.
And then, of course, we have JFK and Ronald Reagan mastering the art of television, when you had three television networks. And then Donald Trump mastering social media. And Obama got into the internet before that.
But, each one, I think, has to figure out how to communicate with the technology of the time and how to reach people. But it's simplicity, it's directness, it's authenticity and they -- and telling stories, I think.
ZAKARIA: Later in the hour Doris Kearns Goodwin will be back to talk about American leadership in this century. But next, the great civil rights leader turned Congressman, John Lewis.
I'll ask him about leading a movement under constant threat of violence, even death when we come back.
ZAKARIA: John Lewis was born in Alabama in 1940. The son of sharecroppers, he grew up to become a civil rights leader. He became Chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, a grassroots organization formed by young people and known for student sit-ins. He was the youngest keynote speaker at the 1963 march on Washington.
LEWIS: We will march with the spirit of love and with the spirit of dignity that we have shown here today.
ZAKARIA: In 1986 he was elected to the House of Representatives. 32 years and 17 congressional terms later, he currently sits as the Representative of Georgia's fifth district. In 2011, President Barrack Obama awarded Mr. Lewis the presidential Medal of Freedom.
The president called him an American who knew that change could not wait for some other person or some other time; whose life is a lesson in the fierce urgency of now. I sat down with the Congressman at his offices on Capitol Hill to discuss the lessons he had learned through a lifetime of leadership and activism.
You grew up in modest means in the segregated south. At what point did you think you had to take some kind of leadership role in the movement in your life?
LEWIS: When I was growing up as a poor child in rural Alabama, I had a lot of questions about what I saw that I didn't like, so I kept asking my mother, my father, my grandparents and my great- grandparents. Why this? Why that? They would say, boy, that's the way it is. Don't get in the way. Don't get in trouble.
At the age of 17 I met Rosa Parks. The next year at the age of 18 I met Martin Luther King Jr. And I got involved. I was inspired.
And I grew up and spoke up and spoke out. And somehow and some way the influence of Martin Luther King Jr., the influence of Gandhi, just reading about him, his teaching kept saying to me you have to be brave, you have to be bold, you have to be courageous and just go for it.
ZAKARIA: You were jailed 45 times. There's a time during the year of the freedom ride you were beaten so badly you thought you were going to die. At a moment like that, honestly, does your -- do you get scared? Does your resolve become stronger? How do you feel?
LEWIS: During the times when I was arrested and jailed, when I was beaten, left bloody, unconscious, I thought I saw death. I thought I was going to die. But I lost all sense of fear. I became convinced it was something I had to do, I had to speak up, I had to be involved. I couldn't turn back. I had to keep going.
ZAKARIA: How do you get other people to do this? So, I understand, okay, maybe you had this fire. But now you're telling other people to do something that you know is going to get them arrested. It's going to probably make them lose their jobs. It's going to perhaps get them bloodied and beaten. Was that hard? LEWIS: It was hard, it was difficult. But people bought into the idea that we end this thing together, and we cannot turn back, we cannot give up. It's this feeling on the part of all of us that if we don't do it, if we fail to act, who will do it? Who's going to act? Who's going to speak up?
Who is going to speak out and get into what I call good trouble, necessary trouble? It was like a calling. It was like a mission. And there were some people that were willing and ready to go to jail over and over again to risk their very lives for the cause.
ZAKARIA: You also had to take on not just the segregated south's white establishment, but you had a different strategy than some parts of the black leadership. You talk about listening to Thurgood Marshall, the great civil rights lawyer, and feeling that you needed to take a different path. Was it hard to break with the legendary Thurgood Marshall?
LEWIS: Well, I remember very, very well when we were released from prison during the freedom riots in 1961 and came back, there was a meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, where Thurgood Marshall said in so many words, you all don't need to continue to go to jail and get beaten and almost killed. And he said we can file one case and go to the Supreme Court.
And I said, Mr. Marshall, we just don't need one or two people getting arrested and going to jail, we have to create a mass movement. And he said I understand. And that's what we did.
Hundreds and thousand of us were willing to go to jail. More than 400 people got arrested during the freedom riot and sentenced to 66 days in the state penitentiary in Mississippi, but it led to the desegregation of public transportation all across the south.
ZAKARIA: The way the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee was structured in terms of leadership was quite different from when I look at the NAACP or Martin Luther King's Southern Christian Leadership Council in that it was bottom up.
And you write in your memoirs that you didn't trust leaders and you didn't want your organization to be top down directed. But a lot of the success of the NAACP and of Martin Luther King's outfit was that they were very centralized. That they were -- that Martin Luther King ran the show. Why did you choose a very different model?
LEWIS: We truly believe in what we call group participation. We were spending many long hours talking and trying to reach a consensus. We didn't have anyone over anyone. It was almost like we're going to do what the spirit said do, but we would do it together. We would do it in an orderly, peaceful, nonviolent fashion.
ZAKARIA: Do you think there's a leadership lesson there in terms of how to create consensus? LEWIS: Well, there is a leadership lesson that you have to get the great majority, and if necessary all of the participants to be of one accord. People have to buy in, say yes I'm going to follow this.
I'm going to be a part of this effort. It's become like a family that we're going down this road and we're going to go together down this road. If one of us gets arrested, we all will be arrested.
ZAKARIA: Next on GPS from Selma, Alabama, to Charlottesville, Virginia, more than a half century after marching across the Edmund Pettis Bridge, John Lewis will give me his reaction to witnessing violence and hatred today.
LEWIS: I really cry as I watch some of the scenes on television.
ZAKARIA: John Lewis, when we come back.
ZAKARIA: When you see what is going on today in America, those marches in Charlottesville, some of the violence, anti-Semitism, the white on black violence in that church, what do you think?
LEWIS: Well, when I see what is going on now and what happened just a few months ago and continue to happen with all of the hate, anti- Semitism, the bombings, the shooting, it makes me very sad. Charlottesville makes me cry. I thought we had come so far and made so much progress. I really cried as I watched some of the scenes on television.
ZAKARIA: When you hear some of the things that are being said at Charlottesville in those manifestos of some of these white supremacists, do you feel like you heard this all before in the '60s?
LEWIS: When I see and hear now, it takes me back to the late '50s and the '60s. And that's what really distressed me more than anything. I thought we had changed as a society. I thought we had changed America forever.
But in so many ways we've got to go back and do what we did, teach another generation and teach ourselves that we still have work to do, a lot of work to do. But I'm hopeful, I'm optimistic about the future. There are going to be some setbacks, but we will get there. We will create a society at peace with itself.
ZAKARIA: If leaders are a reflection of society, John Lewis reflects well on us all. My next guest retired four-star General Stanley McChrystal certainly agrees. He dedicated his latest book to Mr. Lewis and to John McCain, writing that they remind us that it's possible to keep our humanity while leading with courage and commitment; Stan McChrystal on leadership in the military and beyond when we come back.
ZAKARIA: Retired four-star General Stanley McChrystal was the leader of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan. In his more than 30 years of service, he has led elite forces and faced formidable adversaries.
He then went on to found a consulting firm called the McChrystal Group with the idea of translating lessons learned on the battlefield to the board room. He has also written a terrific book, "Leaders, Myth and Reality."
It profiles 13 diverse leaders from military General Robert E. Lee to business giant Walt Disney to al-Qaeda jihadist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and more. He drew on the book in his conversation with me.
You engaged in a kind of leadership that is so alien to most people that is you are taking young people, small groups of young people in Iraq and you are getting them to do two things, kill other people, kill the bad guys, and risk their own life. Which is harder, to get people to risk their own life or to be systematically killing other human beings?
MCCHRYSTAL: Yes. It's frighteningly easy to get people to kill other people. And yet when you ask them to risk their lives for a cause or for their comrades, you need to raise other ideas. You need to raise other principles. They have to believe first that the people that they are with, worthy of their trust.
They should believe that their cause is worthy of their accepting risk and maybe making the ultimate sacrifice. And sometimes that gets personified in the leader, what you communicate to them, the kind of loyalty you show them is so important.
And so you're really trying to get people to commit. And whenever you get people to commit to something that are good, I think you've done something that's right in leadership.
ZAKARIA: For you, part of being a leader action even a military leader who's out there leading a bunch of people in these very difficult situations, there's an intellectual task. There is the task of articulating an idea.
MCCHRYSTAL: There has to be. Now, I would argue that if you are glib enough and charismatic enough you can get in front of young people and you can get them to do some pretty horrific things. But if you are trying to do something worthy of the term leader, if you're trying to do something worthy of the sacrifice you're asking them to make, then there's an intellectual case that has to be made first to yourself.
Are we trying to do the right thing? Am I asking for the right things from these people? Am I trying to make them perform in a way that I'm proud of? There's a great saying that says an army is just a mob with discipline.
And the reality is, in any fight when it gets hard, as when Iraq got very, very difficult about 2005, '06 and '07, there was a temptation to slide down and fight just the way al-Qaeda interacted where there were torture chambers and horrific things.
And so you've not only got to have sacrifice from your people but you have to ask them to live values that are above that. And that's a tension as well. Militaries will sometimes want to say let me take the gloves off; let me do whatever it takes to win. And in reality, you can make yourself unworthy of being the victor.
ZAKARIA: Whenever you would assume a leadership post, and you and General Petraeus were both famous for this, you would find some way to demonstrate your physical fitness strength.
ZAKARIA: You'd - maybe you'd happened to be running and you'd asked the young recruits to run with you. Maybe you were doing pushups and ask that. And the -- what you were
trying to show them is, yeah, I may be 50-years-old, but I can --I can do more pushups than you, I can run faster than you.
There must have been a point to it, this is not about showing off. This is about sending a signal.
MCCHRYSTAL: Yes, it's not about telling them you can do more pushups than you. In Fact, it's better if you can do one less. But what they look at is they look at, is they like to say, well, the old man's 53-years-old and he's out here doing push-ups. He's out here running everyday. Because he's asked us to do that, he thinks that important to do and he's willing to do that.
It's the same way with going on combat operations. If I go on an operation with my guys, I'm no help on the ground. In fact, I'm probably a distraction, because I might get in the way or I might get hurt, and then they'd be unhappy about that.
But the fact that I'm willing to accept the risk, and the fact that I'm willing to go see them do their work, so that I can learn from that is a sign of respect.
ZAKARIA: Do you think -- do you teach a course on leadership at Yale? Is the one idea you want the kids to understand by the end of the course. MCCHRYSTAL: Yeah. Probably not one you can make simple, but I would say that leadership is about you and a relationship to people, because you are leading if you are in a leadership role.
The leader isn't a title, it isn't a paycheck, it isn't a parking place, it's not an honor, it's this responsibility. And it's that responsibility to all these different people and whatever the context of the situation you're in. If the context isn't what you like, tough. As we say in the military, you have to fight war you're in, not the one you wish you were in.
If you're leading people, you have to lead the people that you are leading, not the people you wish you had. And you have to give them what they need, not what you think you want from them.
ZAKARIA: How do you think Americans perceive leadership today, because there is a widespread distrust of institutions, of authority of elites?
MCCHRYSTAL: I think Americans are looking in the wrong place for leadership. I think we have to start by looking in the mirror. I think we need to understand that leaders aren't this unicorn that shows up suddenly and takes us somewhere.
Leaders are people we empower, we follow, we vote for, whatever, and the reality is, we have responsibility. Leaders, ultimately, will reflect the values we make them reflect. Leaders will reflect who we want to be.
We need to look in a mirror and decide who we are, who we wan to be, what's important to us. And if leaders take us in a direction we don't want to be, we need to understand, that's our responsibility. It's not something that somebody's done to us.
ZAKARIA: Next on this special edition of GPS, from college drop-out to the world's richest man. Bill Gates grew Microsoft to the behemoth it has become today and learned some important leadership lessons along the way.
I'll ask him about his famously demanding style when we come back.
ZAKARIA: In 1975 Bill Gates left Harvard to found a software company with his friend Paul Allen. Within 25 years the company, Microsoft, of course, had grown from three employees to tens of thousands. Today it has roughly 140,000 employees around the world.
How did a kid with a passion for computers grow an incredibly valuable empire, become a leader of thousands and then go on to run a globe- spanning foundation?
And what are the difference between running a business designed to make money and heading an organization designed to give it away? The Gates Foundation has given away roughly $45 billion and counting.
I sat down with Gates at his private office near Seattle.
When you started at Microsoft, you were so young. This was something that was just a passion. You once said to me, which I thought was a fascinating point, you never thought of yourself as an entrepreneur. If you hadn't been doing computers, it's not like you would have started a chain of restaurants. This was about computers and your passion.
Did you ever think to yourself, this is the kind of manager I want to be?
GATES: Yes, over time as you're writing less code and you're hiring people who write code and then you're hiring people who manage people who write code, and you're explaining to the world why the magic of the personal computer and the magic of software can help them get things done, you really are forced to say, do I enjoy this, am I good at this, should I have someone else do it?
In most cases, the founder doesn't stick around for 25 years and end up managing 50,000 people. That's a fairly unusual case, but it's a nice case, because you have a certain continuity. Nobody every -- ever wondered, OK, who's in charge here.
You know, Bill wrote this in a memo, I wonder what somebody else things. No. If I wrote it, then, OK, let's just go do it.
ZAKARIA: You were famously a very demanding person who suffered fools no very gladly, you pushed people very hard. Do you think that was the best way to motivate people?
GATES: Well, I think it's important to separate out. I never -- I didn't -- other than a DOJ deposition I gave, no one ever said that when I went out and talked to the press or customers that I was rude or abrupt or commanding or anything like that.
Inside Microsoft, we had, to some degree, a self-selected set of people who, you know, were mostly males, I'll admit, and, yes, we were pretty tough on each other. And I think sometimes that went too far. It was very intense.
You know, we -- we counted on each other to work very long hours and I always wanted to set the best example of that. I think that intensity, even though a little bit it went too far, was -- was great for my 20s, 30s, 40s.
And now, you know, where I'm a bit more mellow and I'm not pushing quite as insanely, but I'm still clear about, hey, that toilet design is too expensive, it's a dead-end, we're not going to put more money into that. That, you know, works for being the -- the -- the co-head of the foundation.
ZAKARIA: Do you think there are leadership rules, principles? Because I sometimes wonder if you were to ask somebody what's a good way to run a company, they will probably put down a list of ten things.
Steve Jobs would have violated all ten of those in the way he -- or at least the vast majority of those in the way he ran Apple. And yet it's the largest company in the world today. Is it just too specific or varied for there to be general lessons? GATES: Well, Steve -- that's a good example of don't do this at home. That is, it's really easy to imitate the bad parts of Steve of times being an (inaudible). And it is -- I have yet to meet any person who in terms of picking talent, hyper motivating that talent and having a sense of design of, oh, this is good, this is not good.
So he brought some incredibly positive things along with that toughness. And I always said that I was like a minor wizard because he would be casting spells. And I would see people mesmerized but because I'm a minor the spells don't work on me. I could not cast those spells.
But I'd see them and say hey, wait, don't, don't. You're going to work even more than I would ask you to. This -- no, this is crazy. Or like when he did the next introduction, which is a computer that completely failed, it was such nonsense and yet he mesmerized those people.
Oh, yes, million by million and black cube and all this stuff. I was like, wait a minute, that spell should not work at all. It doesn't have any reality to it. So Steve is a very singular case where the company really was on a path to die and it goes and becomes the most valuable company in the world with some products that are really quite amazing. There aren't going to be many stories like that.
ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, I return to my interview with the Pulitzer prize-winning author Doris Kearns Goodwin. I'll ask the historian about today's leaders when we come back.
ZAKARIA: One of the things people often say about leadership is that hard times produce great leaders. You look at the -- the Depression and World War II and you see these massive towering figures, Churchill, Roosevelt, even before, Stalin, Mao, these -- they seem immensely powerful figures.
What does it say about our times that we have produced Donald Trump and Theresa May and people like that?
GOODWIN: You know, I worry about that, because I think it is true that in general America has been able to produce the leader that they needed at those moments, when needed them.
Whether it was Lincoln or whether it was FDR or Teddy Roosevelt, and they would argue too that hard times allows you to mobilize the citizenry when there's a common challenge that people feel, and that's more difficult when you're -- got institutions that are separated and a system of government that's built on checks and powers.
But, what's happened today, still I'm not sure I fully understand. It is a very difficult time. I mean, globalization and the technological revolution have shaken up our economy. There is a gap between the rich and the poor. People are feeling left out of the system, motilities not working so that people can rise to the level of their talent and their discipline.
There's huge problems in the country right now, but the divisions are not being healed, the divisions are being exacerbated, and that's one of the first times, I think, that we've had a leader who has not tried to heal the divisions.
I mean, maybe they were not successful in doing so, but is satisfied with the base that he has, and it seems like around the world there are these populist leaders who are answering the angers and the irritations and the frustrations of people because capitalism hasn't answered some of the needs of distributing and making the prosperous part of the country fair, so that people can rise through the system. But, to call for socialism is a problem. We need Democratic capitalism, and those leaders some how are not rising to the surface.
But, that was what was sort of the encouraging about the mid-terms, more young people getting into office, more veterans. I mean, I think what made our country work on a bipartisan basis in the '60s and '70s and '80s, three out of four Congressmen and Senators had been veterans, so, World War II or Korean War, they knew a need for a common purpose, to mobilize people and they were willing to go across Party lines to do that.
Teddy Roosevelt once said something that is so presciently warning today, he said, the rock of democracy would founder when people begin seeing each other from different regions or different races and religions as the other, rather than as common American citizens. And I fear that that kind of division has happened in our country right now.
ZAKARIA: What do you think after having looked at this subject so closely, what's a reasonable definition of what a great leader is, because in a sense I wonder, you know, Hitler was a leader, Mao was a leader, they clearly had some of the qualities of charisma and discipline that allowed them to move great nations. What is leadership?
GOODWIN: Yes, it's one of those huge questions that has no easy answer, but I think you would normally say that leadership is the ability to mobilize and inspire people toward a common cause. But, then the question is, is there an ethical base to what that common cause is?
I mean some people would argue philosophically that you don't have to call Hitler a leader, that he wields power and he's in a position of power, but maybe leadership has an ethical element to it, that that common cause that you're fighting for is for the greater good for the people rather than doing something that's going to hurt them and hurt other people. And maybe that has to do with justice, maybe it has to do with opportunity.
[10:55:00] Whatever the values are.
ZAKARIA: Do you think political leadership is distinct and different, or is it the sort of heightened form of just leadership in general. In other words, does the CEO learn something from -- from Roosevelt and Lincoln, or is that just a wholly different sphere?
GOODWIN: I don't think it's a wholly different sphere. I think political leadership, like leadership in general, is about human qualities.
How do you create a team? Do you create a team that you can inspire and make them want to work together, and you respect that team and you share credit when something goes well. You shoulder blame when something goes wrong. You have empathy, you have humility, you have resilience.
All of those human qualities, I think, will show itself, whether you're leader of a business, whether you're a leader in a non-profit, whether you're a teacher leader, whether you're a communications leaders or a political leaders.
The systems are different, so you have to learn the experience from being a business leader or a political leader. But I think the human qualities that make a person a leader, the ability to grow, to learn from their mistakes, all of those qualities, I think, are leadership qualities that you can see in a community, as well as in the presidency of the United States.
ZAKARIA: I'm Fareed Zakaria. Thank you for watching this special edition of GPS, "How to Lead." I'll see you next week.