Cory Booker: ALeader to Watch
In the American political and corporate scene, questions have beenraised about the most potent leaders to take the US to the nextlevel. A key issue is who will take over the democratic presidentialticket in 2016. Several names have been floated including Joe Bidden,Hillary Clinton and a relative new comer, Cory Booker. Cory Booker isone man who has demonstrated impeccable leadership qualities over thefew years he has held public office to make his name to be listed asone of the best next presidential candidate on a Democratic Partyticket. He owes this to his impressive leadership qualities asexpounded below.
Cory Booker is a current US Senator for New Jersey. He assumed officeon 31st October 2013 on a Democratic Party ticket. Hepreviously served as the 36th mayor of Newark serving from1st July 2006 to 31st October 2013. He enteredthe political scene in 1998 where he contested for a councilor’sposition and won, he held the same position until 2002 when hecontested for mayor seat but lost before making a second attempt andwinning. It is clear to see that the man who has born Cory AnthonyBooker on 27th April 1969 in Washington DC has had ameteoric rise in politics. This rise shows he is charismatic and ableto win followers very easily (Stevens, 2010).
The man, who many describe as having an aura of ‘superman’ eversince his university days in Stanford University and OxfordUniversity, has managed to win over voters and the public through hisleadership capabilities. After attending his university education inOxford and Sanford, he won a scholarship at Yale University where heearned his Juris Doctor in 1997. In his final year, he lived inNewark city where he interacted with locals and learned theirproblems (Stevens, 2010). He honed his communication skills throughcommunity organizations which are vital in communicating ideas andgoals in a colorful and inspiring manner (Dubrin, 83). After hisgraduation, he worked at the office of Urban Justice Center in NewYork and acted as the Program Coordinator of the Newark YouthProject. By working alongside the youth in Newark, he learned aboutthe difficulties facing the people specifically housing problems,crime and unemployment.
Booker was able to inspire the people of Newark and dare them todream more. This is because Booker understand the problems ailing thepeople and felt that thing could be better and that the people didnot have to live in the conditions they were living in then. Prive(2012), writing for Forbes Magazine notes that the ability to inspirefollowers and enabling them to share one’s vision especially in thevery early stages is an integral skill in leadership. She writes thatan inspiration leader should tease the people to question the statusquo. To achieve, the leaders must have a firm grasp of the prevailingconditions or the status quo in order to possibly share the sameattitudes with the followers in changing the current situation. As astudent at Yale, Booker lived in one of Newark’s housing projectsand was vital in organizing residents to call for better livingconditions in the projects.
Booker has demonstrated his ability to lead from the front.by leadingfrom the front, leaders are able to set examples and inspire thepeople to move forwards towards the set goals. This notion of leadingfrom the front is borrowed from ancient kings and rulers who used tolead their troops from the front in the battleground rather thangiving orders from the safety of their barracks. Booker has clearlydemonstrated this. As a council member for Newark, he went on a10-day hunger strike in the summer of 1999 and camped in a test inhousing projects to protest against open drug selling in theneighborhoods. He once again lived in a motor home for five goodmonths to push for better housing projects by the city council and ina very big wan their trust and displayed his persona as a man ofintegrity (Stevens, 2010).
Booker has demonstrated his ability to steer clear of group think,peer pressure and even herd mentality, true aspects of a true leader.He demonstrated this by slamming Obama’s criticism of Mitt Romney’srecord as a head of Bain capital during the 2012 presidentialelections despite him being on Obama’s team. Brooks (2014) saysthat the ability of an individual to steer clear of groupthink orherd mentality where the stakes are that high requires a very clearconscious and shows the traits of a true leader. Brooks says thiskind of wisdom requires one to be sensitive to the contours thatshape the existing circumstances that cannot be altered. This kind ofawareness of what shapes perceptions is not experienced by felt,hence it is something rather innate.
While there are main traits that define a good leader, the above caseand brief outline of Cory Bookers life and achievements shows that heis a great leader. Whether he is a made leader or a born leader isnot within the scope of this paper. It is for such qualities that thesenator is being sparingly cited as one of the likely democratslikely to contest for the Democratic Party presidential ticket in2016. The man has a lot to offer to fellow leaders in terms oflearning how to lead people from the ground and from the front.
Brooks, David.The leadership revival. 13.01.2014. 01/04/104.http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/14/opinion/brooks-the-leadership-revival.html
Dubrin, Andrew.Leadership: Research Findings, Practice, and Skills. New York:Cengage Leaning. 2012.
Newton, Jonathan.Ten things you should know about Cory Booker. Washington Post2013. 01/04/2014. http://www.washingtonpost.com/pb/politics/ten-things-you-should-know-about-cory-booker/2013/08/13/5f5aa964-0459-11e3-88d6-d5795fab4637_gallery.html#item3
Prives, Tanya.Top 10 qualities that make a great leader. Forbes. 12/09/2012/01/4/2014.http://www.forbes.com/sites/tanyaprive/2012/12/19/top-10-qualities-that-make-a-great-leader/Stableford,D. Cory Booker slams Obama campaign ad attacking Romney`s BainCapital record. 2012. 01/04/2014.http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/OTUS/cory-booker-slams-obama-campaign-ad-attacking-romneys/story?id=16390606
Stevens, Andrew.Cory Booker Mayor of Newark, New Jersey 2010.01/04/2014.http://www.citymayors.com/mayors/newark-mayor.html