15 Great Leadership Lessons From John Kerry's Senate Farewell

February 1, 2013

After 28 years in the Senate, Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts bid farewell to his colleagues in an emotional address rich in wisdom and perspective on the challenges of our times. In a 50 minute address last Wednesday, he encapsulated the problems—and solutions—to the Senate’s gridlock as well as what it means to be a servant leader and statesmen. As he departs to become America’s chief diplomat, an honor his Senate colleagues voted to give him 94 - 3, his address was the perfect transition—cataloging everything in between his first appearance before the Senate Foreign Relations committee as a young activist in 1971 and his second, just last week, as he was confirmed as Secretary of State.

Below are excerpts of his speech, boiled down into 15 key lessons that he taught his Senate colleagues--and all of us. His long address makes this an uncharacteristically long post--though I've done my best to keep it succinct and free of too much commentary. The entire speech is well worth watching or reading. Like the great oratories of Senate giants past, it will certainly be revisited in classrooms generations from now as a lesson in eloquence, leadership and statesmanship.

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