Like many others, I have been deeply saddened by the sudden and untimely death of Tim Russert. Over the last week, I have also been touched and awed by the wide-ranging impact he made in his life. I am most struck by what his colleagues and employees say about him. As a professional and as a leader, I would like to aspire to a fraction of the impact he has had on others.
Here are some of the lessons I would like to take from Tim Russert:
> Be an expert, and share your expertise in ways that everyone can understand. Revel in the excitement of learning more and more about your chosen field of expertise, and consider carefully how to explain what you’ve learned in everyday language.
> Be a mentor to those who work for and with you. Generously share your expertise, and find ways to coach and support others that makes them feel powerful and confident.
> Be a great boss. Find a job you love and surround yourself with others who also love it. Create a team of people who pull for one another, who inspire each other, and who share your goals and vision.
> Be a cheerleader for your colleagues. Find out what’s important to them and encourage them to share their stories about it. Reach out to them when you know they are hurting and celebrate grandly with them when you know they are reaching a milestone.
I only wish I knew more about HOW Tim Russert did all these things…
More lessons I want to learn from Tim Russert that I won’t talk about here: About how to lovingly take care of an aging parent (from far away, when your life is impossibly busy). How’d he do that? About living a life of faith. How’d he do that? About raising a child in such a way that he becomes a fine upstanding man – and one of your best friends. How’d he do that?
I haven’t read Big Russ and Me yet, but I intend to – maybe I’ll find some clues there. And I hope there are many biographies of Tim Russert; I’ll read every one. But I hope they aren’t just a litany of all of his accomplishments and a retelling of his life story. I hope they can provide me with details that will help me begin to understand how to live such a huge life and have such a positive impact in both the wide world and a smaller circle of family, friends, and colleagues. There are lessons to be learned here. And I’ll continue to be thinking about how Tim Russert was able to do all that.