You may not like his politics, or appreciate his sense of humor, or agree with his point of view on the world situation, but one thing is clear about Jon Stewart. He is a leader of leaders, an especially rare commodity in the entertainment world.
As a person who has studied leaders and leadership nearly all my life, I contend that very few meet the ultimate measure of success. The so-called “level 5 leaders” are able to create a legacy based on the quality of leaders they develop, encourage, support and then “let go.” No one in the entertainment field today has done a better job than Jon.
- Rob Cordry, creator of two-time Emmy Award-winning Childrens’ Hosptial, now in its sixth season;
- Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, now in it’s second season on HBO. Oliver also did a fabulous job filling in for Stewart when he took a sabbatical from the show to make a movie;
- Larry Wilmore, host of The Nightly Show, with a fresh new format for taking on today’s tough and controversial issues with humor and diverse perspectives;
- And of course, the great Stephen Colbert, creator of The Colbert Report and Colbert Nation, soon to become host of The Late Show.
Each has gone on to create a show with his own unique voice and style. This is a tribute to the style of leadership that inspires the genius that exists in each of us, rather than trying to make people in his or her own image. We can all learn a lot from this approach.
And while these examples are perhaps the most well known, there are multiple others. And, every time you think, “how can the show survive without X?” Jon brings in more talent. And he always expresses genuine pleasure and pride in the success each of his protégés, though I’m sure the more cynical among us see that as “part of the act.”
So, hats off to you Jon Stewart! You have a lot to be proud of in the legacy you’ve created during your run as host of The Daily Show. I don’t know what’s next for you or the show, but I will truly miss watching you operate at the top of your game.
And, for the record, I do appreciate that you make me laugh every day with your take on the state of politics, the world situation and the media. Thank you for that; daily laughter is part of my mantra. And, I also share the concern expressed by former President Bill Clinton: “Just where will we get our news now?”