Symbolic Actions of Leaders Are Hard to Hide
George Herbert Walker Bush may go down in history as the last President of the United States not hated by a significant portion of the population. He actually had the highest average approval rating of any president in half a century.
Bush was widely respected for good reason. He was a leader who cared deeply about the people around him. More, he acted on this caring every day.
To illustrate this point, let’s fast-forward beyond his decades of service in politics to a moment in his 89th year. As a former President, he was still surrounded by a large detail from the Secret Service. Upon learning his protective detail had shaved their heads in solidarity with a colleague whose 2-year-old son was battling leukemia, Bush did what few world leaders would. He joined in and shaved his head, as well.
For many leadership acts, like this one, he is arguably the most beloved protectee ever in the eyes of Secret Service members. When Timberwolf (Bush’s protective call sign) died at age 94, Secret Service special agents, usually discreet in their opinions, spoke profusely about a man they revered.
The symbolic actions of leaders are hard to hide, even for a Service that keeps secrets.
Never forget this maxim: “People don’t care what you know until they know that you care.”