Yesterday on Blog Talk Radio, Center for Work Life held a live trivia session called How has EI helped an entertainment mogul emerge and explode? We discussed a globally recognized entertainment businesswomen and how that individual built her success on emotional intelligence. Though the chat was designed to be a guessing game, feel free to check it out for some extra information you may not have known about Oprah.
This brings us to the focus of today’s post: Oprah Winfrey and her leadership qualities. Overcoming abuse in her childhood, Oprah has taken life like a bull by the horns and has carved out a place for herself in history. Her courage, wisdom and genuine nature have landed her numerous awards and the respect of millions worldwide. Among other game changers such as Margaret Thatcher and Neil Armstrong, Oprah has received numerous awards including the Presidential Medal of Freedom. But what are her values at her core, and the actions in her life, that drove these accomplishments? Below are some ideas.
Leadership Qualities of Oprah Winfrey
1. Emotionally Intelligent
Emotional Intelligence (EI) boosts self-awareness, monitors feelings, improves communication skills and increases social awareness. In addition it helps prevent conflict and strengthen mediation skills. This can be easily seen through Oprah’s leadership style. Her awareness of her own vision has led her to achieve big goals while her listening skills and empathy have enabled her to motivate others.
Oprah once said “I am a woman in process. I’m just trying like everybody else. I try to take every conflict, every experience, and learn from it. Life is never dull.” (Brainy Quote). Though she’s not a doctor or psychologist, people trust Oprah with their darkest secrets and invite her to share in their greatest accomplishments. Personal battles with struggles like weight gain which she has openly shared through the years are issues with which people can identify. People follow leaders who are transparent and relatable.
Being an empathetic and caring individual, Oprah doesn’t take justice and humanitarian issues lightly. Refusing to hold her tongue or hide in the shadows, her history for philanthropy and fighting for the common good is nearly unparalleled. From initiating the National Child Protection Act in 1991 (Oprah.com) to transforming lives for the better through education with initiatives such as The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, Oprah has proven the power of one strong leader to positively impact many lives.
Oprah is the epitome of leading by example. Her focus on being the best person she can be, translates to the way other people choose to live their lives in response. Sure, Oprah gives advice and offers suggestions to others in hard times, but it is her nature to always be improving professionally and personally that inspires people to take her advice.
Of course, there are many more important Oprah Winfrey leadership qualities. But, what does this all boil down to? You change yourself, you change the world. Oprah said “The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude” (Goodreads).