NextGen Know-How: What we can learn about leadership from Ellen DeGeneres

Leaders must practice what they preach to grow a culture of trust and integrity.

by Laurie Maddalena, MBA, CPCC, PHR, CU Management

Ellen DeGeneres has had a tough month. Multiple news outlets have been circulating employee and celebrity stories accusing Ellen of not living up to her mantra of “be kind to one another.” I don’t know if these stories are true, but they are certainly compelling, given the various shared anecdotes of Ellen being more mean-spirited than kind-hearted.

Ellen’s current predicament is a great leadership lesson for all of us. It’s not the words you say that matter; it’s the actions you take.

This reminds me of an interaction I experienced several years ago at a chapter meeting for the National Speakers Association. A well-known speaker was presenting to the group on the importance of building rapport with an audience when he happened to mention the town he grew up in. Immediately, I felt a connection to this speaker; he grew up in a small town in upstate New York just ten minutes from my hometown.

“What are the chances?!” I thought.


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