I am DISinterested!

THOMAS JEFFERSON LEADERSHIP

… in a government like ours it is the duty of the Chief-magistrate [the President], in order to enable himself to do all the good which his station requires, to endeavor, by all honorable means, to unite in himself the confidence of the whole people. this alone, in any case where the energy of the nation is required, can produce an union of the powers of the whole, and point them in a single direction, as if all constituted but one body & one mind: and this alone can render a weaker nation unconquerable by a stronger one. towards acquiring the confidence of the people the very first measure is to satisfy them of his disinterestedness, & that he is directing their affairs with a single eye to their good, & not to build up fortunes for himself & family …
Source: Thomas Jefferson letter to John Garland Jefferson, January 25, 1810

Patrick Lee’s Explanation

An effective leader’s priority must be to gain the confidence of his followers. From his experience as President for eight years, Jefferson cited the supreme importance of rallying all the people behind him toward a common cause. It was a matter of national defense. Such unity of body and mind could make “a weaker nation unconquerable by a stronger one.”

The first step toward gaining the people’s confidence was “to satisfy them of his disinterestedness.” Disinterested didn’t mean uninterested. Rather, it meant being objective about leadership, being a steward with no personal agenda or ax to grind. A leader’s only goal should be a single-minded determination to work for the good of all the people and not to enrich himself or his family in any way.


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Self-Educated American, ‘Thomas Jefferson Editor,’ Patrick Lee is a professional speaker, actor and writer. Since 1990, he has inspired, entertained and educated audiences from Maine to Hawaii with his authentic, first person leadership presentations as President Thomas Jefferson, Frontiersman Daniel Boone, and Lewis & Clark Co-Leader William Clark. He also appears as himself, The Hopeful Humorist™, with a program of motivational humor, patriotism and inspiration.

His business address is ThomasJeffersonLeadership.com.