Jefferson: Some Final Thoughts.
Like any leader, Jefferson had to pick his battles. As a young man he boldly chose to join the political assault on slavery. He assumed leadership and was the very person who might have had the convictions and political skills to wage a formidable attack on slavery in America. But he was compromised by his own prejudices and fears. He abdicated that leadership and retreated.
Many of his contemporaries and numerous Americans since have condemned Jefferson for that move. Many others have concluded that he did all he could do given the times in which he lived. But despite the debate over his legacy, there will always be much to learn from Thomas Jefferson—whether he is impressing us with his brilliance or disappointing us with his failures.
- Be willing to sacrifice. Leadership doesn’t come freely or easily.
- Assuming a leadership role means that you will be judged; you will be tested. Your courage will be measured. Meet that challenge.
- Refuse to abdicate your leadership.
- Leaders are often required to stand on their principles—so protect them. Do not compromise your integrity for ease or comfort.
- What criteria do you use to pick your battles as a leader? Do you pick the fights you think you can win or the ones that should be fought regardless of the chances of victory?
- Walk the walk—it’s that simple. You weaken your position as a leader when your actions don’t match your words.
- Be wary of rationalizations that mask the abuse of power. They can discredit your leadership and damage your legacy.
~ Coy Barefoot, Thomas Jefferson on Leadership