Part of my holiday viewing was The Trial of the Chicago 7 – a documentary about protesters at the 1968 Democratic Convention. The fact that Aaron Sorkin wrote it was enough to entice me but it proved to be an illuminating view on a piece of history that I really knew little about.
All seven on trial were arrested for their role in protesting the Vietnam War but that’s where the similarities ended. Two were Yippies – radically left members of the anti-war protests. Two were members of the Students for a Democratic Society who approached their advocacy with more intellect than charisma. One was an older father who was literally a Boy Scout leader, engaged in the protests through total non-violence, and two were doctoral students and individual protesters who were later acquitted on all charges.
It was striking to me to see the differences in how these seven approached the same cause. I was reminded that leadership can come in many forms and there is no one “type” of personality that is more successful than others in motivating people to act. The best way to inspire others is to be authentic.