The Latitude Newspaper has a nice profile of Lowell Mayor Patrick Murphy and his partnership with the Cambodian Community
The story is here but I’ll share what I found most interesting
Murphy’s ability to connect with politically disenfranchised immigrants has clearly helped the city. It also happens to be an instinctive application of ideas that have worked in economically challenged developing nations, says Robert Rotberg, president emeritus of the World Peace Foundation and founding director of the Harvard Kennedy School Program on Intrastate Conflict. He’s also the author of a recent book called Transformative Leadership: Making a Difference in the Developing World.
Good governance matters, Rotberg says. He notes that Murphy’s ability to make people like Nuon and Koch feel heard resembles a trait of Nelson Mandela, who could create “a sense of belonging to all.” Rotberg calls it transcendental leadership, as opposed to transactional politicians, who simply seek power and have little concept of public service.
Turning around a country requires leaders to “bring the aggrieved as well as the satisfied into a big tent,” Rotberg says. Such leaders spend “perhaps 70 to 80 percent [of their time] listening, taking in, appreciating and empathizing.”
Mayor Murphy is interested in Rotberg’s concepts of leadership, and he’d like to read the book, but for now he’s running late for a television interview.
Murphy, of course, does not live in the developing world, and it’s too early to predict the long-term impact of his efforts. But if the same governance tactics work in Lowell and the developing world, perhaps certain leadership traits are universal.