Lori Lightfoot Opens up About Dealing with Enemies and What it Takes to Succeed

by Xara Aziz
YouTube via NBC News

Former Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot, the controversial public figure who lost her bid to win a re-election, was recently highlighted in Chicago magazine where she opened up about her enemies and why she decided politics was no longer for her.

She began with the rigors of being the mayor of a big city, stating it is “a really, really hard job. There are a lot of people shooting at you. You’ve got to know who your enemies are and know that they’re working every single day to undermine you. I don’t know that I totally appreciated that early on.”

To get over this hurdle, she said she had to remind herself why she got into politics and public service.

“You’ve got to make sure that what you’re doing reflects the lived experience of the people you’re supposed to be helping. That means going into the community and listening — and sometimes facing a lot of hostility, because people are cynical,” adding that to be a public servant, you must be willing to “take your licking.”

The COVID pandemic, she acknowledged, was what made her a better leader. During the onset, she had to quickly learn how to become adept in crisis management, crisis communications, how to build consensus, comfort and trust.

“Every leader has their moment, and that was mine.”

When asked what she would have done differently, she said: “Ridiculous question. What I would say is that if you have the time to build authentic relationships, that’s always best. But sometimes you don’t have the time. Sometimes you’ve got to say, ‘I need you to be a grownup and work with me here.’”

Before Lightfoot became one of the nation’s most recognizable politicians, she reminisced about being the student in class many did not believe in. But she quickly raised eyebrows when she exceeded expectations in first grade.

“I remember in first grade, there was a threshold to read 25 books. I read 50, and they were shocked that this young Black girl from a family that had nothing had this intellectual spark and curiosity,” she recalled. “My teachers recognized that I was somebody they should invest some energy in. And so they did. When I graduated from high school, all my elementary school teachers came to my graduation party.”

It was her mother who helped her believe that she could become whatever her heart desired. Her mother, she said, consistently reminded her to stay out of trouble and succeed. Now that she has reached the heights many would only dream of achieving, the advice is to not be afraid of failure.

“When I got over [failure], it just opened up lots of other possibilities for me. Everybody gets insecure. But you can’t let it come to a point where it’s debilitating.”

Related Posts

Crown App