Leadership is a characteristic trait that not everyone has. As we all know, this trait has become difficult to find in true form. I am currently writing an article for my own website which centers around the topic of leadership. I had to place that article aside and write this post because it brought me back to a class I enrolled in during my undergraduate studies.
That class was conveniently called Leadership. During that semester, we had to select an individual we felt was a good representation of a leader and present him or her to the class. The professor mentioned various leaders that other students have went forward with like Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King, Mohandas Gandhi, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Nelson Mandela. Many of the students went with leaders the professor mentioned. However, I submitted my own list of the following individuals to my professor: Bill Clinton, Jimmy Hoffa, and Henry Ford. My professor returned my list and said “Jimmy Hoffa? This is an interesting choice. Please go forward with this.”
Why did I place Jimmy Hoffa on my initial list? That is a good question. I do not even know why he crossed my mind at that time. I have to admit though… the man was a leader of a different breed. He may not have been the most straightedge individual, but he knew how to guide a group of people in the same direction to accomplish a common goal. If you are not sure who Jimmy Hoffa is; he was the President of International Brotherhood of Teamsters. The Teamsters is a labor union in the United States that helps employees achieve proper wages, work rules, complaint procedures, benefits, working conditions, and other various key areas of employment.
Jimmy Hoffa really knew how to rally people together and display a level of motivation that would sincerely empower people. He did not place himself on a higher level than the people he led. He always placed the people he was fighting for first. There is not much footage of Jimmy Hoffa online, but check out this CBC video: Retrobites: Jimmy Hoffa. When given the choice between power or money, he chose power in order to help the workers within the union. In my opinion, Jimmy Hoffa could be placed among some of the best leaders in the United States.
I do not want this post to become a biography of Jimmy Hoffa, so I must conclude with this paragraph. A leader does not always have to be a United States President or the CEO of a company. Some leaders end up turning up on the “dark side” after accomplishing positive objectives but Jimmy Hoffa wanted to help the workers in the United States and did what he could to make that happen. He led with a desire to help the every day man. If you ever get the chance, check out the movie Hoffa, starring Jack Nicholson and Danny DeVito.