Canada's Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau,  recently accepted an honorary law degree from New York University where he gave an impassioned speech during their graduation commencement. Donned in purple robes, Trudeau spoke to an audience of over 10,000 graduates and who gave thunderous applause--and rightfully so. 

Many Americans who are displeased with Trump's policies often wish they had a leader more like Trudeau (a point often satirized by comedians). Indeed, many of Trudeau's policies seem to counter Trump, however, regardless of which side you take, there are a lot of things we can learn from Trudeau's speech about leadership. 

1. Embrace Meeting New People

Trudeau opened his speech about how the many people he met had greatly influenced his life. Trudeau has always been adamant about diversity, but his speech revealed how his trip around the world forced him to interact with different people, values, ideas, and languages. 

Trudeau exclaimed, "We're not going to arrive at mutual respect, which is where we solve common problems if we cocoon ourselves in an ideological, social, and or intellectual bubble."

It's no secret that diversity in the workforce leads to higher returns, so why not take a page out of the Prime Minister's book?

2. Fortify Your Discipline, Tolerance, and Perspective

According to Trudeau, we should "aim a little higher than mere tolerance."

"Saying 'I tolerate you' actually means something like, 'Okay, I grudgingly admit that you have a right to exist, but just don't get up in my face about it. Oh, and don't date my sister,'" he said. 

What does he propose instead? Trudeau listed respect, friendship, acceptance, and love. He emphasized that diversity isn't limited to race, gender, and sexuality - it includes cultures and political beliefs too. 

Trudeau brought up the story of former Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier, a leader who saw beyond his French Canadian roots to accept new ideas. To Trudeau, Laurier's bravery came not from standing firm about his own beliefs, but by opening himself to opposing viewpoints. 

3. Unify Your Tribe(s)

Trudeau also spoke out against tribalism in favor of unity. "We have to do it together. All together. Humanity has to fight our tribal mindset."

He acknowledged that people often bond over common ground, be it attending the same church, liking the Yankees, or even playing Pokémon Go. However, Trudeau pointed out that the main issue was that tribalism could be incredibly divisive.  

"It's not the belonging that is the real problem. It's the corollary. You are part of my tribe, and they are not [...] This world is and must be bigger than that."

He told the audience to challenge themselves to reach out and listen to people whose beliefs and values are different than theirs.

"Despite our differences, we are all the same," he told the audience. 

Leadership means ensuring great unity and bringing different people together, with open arms. It involves everyone working as a team, no matter their differences. That's the kind of leader everyone should strive to become.

You can watch the full speech here.

Published on: May 17, 2018
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