Mr. Rodgers was an iconic television personality who inspired millions to be kind and compassionate towards one another. He was a teacher and a leader, the likes which we may never see again.
Tom Hanks, who portrayed Mr. Rodgers recently in the film A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, recently sat down to share some of the lessons he learned while studying for the role. Here are three important takeaways from the conversation.
1. Connecting with people isn’t about selling them something.
Even though Rogers was an ordained minister, he never used the word “God” on his show or tried to sell his viewers on anything. Instead, he forged deep connections with his viewers by expressing empathy. One of the best ways to express empathy in your connections listening to understand, not to respond.
2. Everyone needs to express vulnerability.
Leaders are often expected to exhibit qualities like confidence, toughness, and determination, but Rogers often shared his own feelings of vulnerability on his show.
Even though it sounds counter-intuitive, being vulnerable takes courage, another quality every leader needs. One of Rodger’s most famous quotes was when he simply stated: “It’s OK to be sad sometimes.”
3. Removing competition makes communication easier.
When two people have a conflict, there’s often an assumption that one person is right and the other is wrong. Eliminating this notion of there being a zero-sum game, can lead to more effective communication, connection and ultimately, resolution.
To watch the full interview, check out the video here.