Oprah’s leadership qualities are exemplified in the way that she communicates and relates to people from all walks of life, empathizes with those in need, and the ability to look at issues from various perspectives. Oprah’s gift to communicate has fans viewing her show in 140 countries which includes 46 million viewers in the U.S. (Conlon, 2008). She has a relaxed demeanor with guests that makes the audience feel they are part of the conversation. Her ability to empathize with people has brought out confessions from her own past that many people would not admit to close friends. Oprah is self-reflective and has openly admitted her short-comings to millions. She has the ability to find the best in others and leads through example as can be seen through her philanthropic work, encouraging others to contribute to charitable organizations. Oprah surrounds herself with others that have the competencies she lacks and trusts in them to do what she cannot.
At a very young age while living in poverty, Oprah vowed that her life would never be that way when she was older. She had a very troubled childhood living with a mother that spent little time with her leaving her to be molested and raped by male relatives. Her life appears to have turned around when she was fourteen and went to live with her father who was a strict disciplinarian and believed strongly in education. Shortly after going to live with him, she became an honors student and was awarded a full scholarship to college. Oprah has never forgotten where she came from and the strife that she lived through as a child. This appears to be the heart of her communication and leadership skills.
Oprah was hired in television in 1973 after the racial riots of ’71 and ’72 and some claimed that she was a token for the station. She was determined to be successful. She has few failures that are notable because she has the ability to persevere. Her failures include box-office flops, lawsuits, and weight-loss; every one of her failures made her stronger. She is aware of how influential she is in the world and views it as a responsibility and an opportunity to help others grow intellectually and spiritually. She has inspired me to live my life to the fullest and never stop believing in myself. It is Oprah’s ability to make people believe in themselves that truly makes her a leader.
Conlon, M. (2008). Oprah throws party for U.S. Olympic medalists. Reuters. Retrieved from