Leadership Legacy Experience hosts Governor Malloy
Published: Thursday, February 27, 2014
Updated: Thursday, February 27, 2014 00:02
Crisis is something that Governor Dannel Malloy and the entire state of Connecticut are far too familiar with.
This Wednesday, the UConn Leadership Legacy Experience, a yearlong leadership enhancement program, hosted Malloy to speak on the theme of “Leadership in Times of Crisis” including both his personal and professional experiences.
Malloy emphasized how his hardships at an early age cultivated his natural leadership abilities. Adversity had always been part of his life; born with severe learning and motor disabilities, he was unable to tie his shoes or button a shirt until fifth grade. For him, leadership began as a self-defense mechanism, learning how to handle constant ridicule from classmates, and his propensity for oral communication developed from a compensatory skill into a calling.
“I’ve held office continuously since the fourth grade,” he explained, emphasizing how it was the values instilled in him by his mother that inspired him to dedicate his life to public service, and in her words, “the obligation to leave the world a better place for having lived in it.”
“Be assured you can bring the results you want to, with preparation and good hard work,” said Malloy, and then he underlined, “and with, for lack for a better word, a good reason to do it.” This theme of righteousness was central to the speech, as a defining quality that makes someone a leader in the truest sense of the word. He alluded to his advocacy in high school to keep free lunches for less fortunate classmates, standing up for gay and lesbians at his Catholic college and offering his legal expertise and services for free once returning to his hometown. He also made a commitment to stay honest and genuine despite the pressures that come with campaigning and political life.
“I didn’t run to be governor to be popular. I ran to be governor to be a good leader.” Whenever placed in a tough position, he guides his policy and decisions through remembering, “It’s about the long haul, for the long term outcome.”
Along with this idea of vision, Malloy stressed the importance of self-analysis in a leader, the ability to assess one’s strengths and weaknesses, through a “test” he takes every morning whenever he shaves and looks in the mirror. This self-imposed reflective judgment is a crucial time to examine our behavior and then teach ourselves to be better people. Through taking the time to learn our lessons, he explains, we can make future recoveries faster and prevent more damage from being done.
Although much of Malloy’s professional life is in the field of public service, he urged, “It doesn’t have to be in the field of government, or higher education. The opportunities to make each other great will present themselves everyday.” Leadership can manifest itself in many ways; whether coaching a team, getting involved in a community group, or just the way you respect yourself and others.
“[Leadership] is a gift because it is a way of making your life more meaningful than those who would run away.”