Hello, everyone.

FDR during Fireside Chat. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Today we continue with our new series:  Leadership through the Signs.  In this series, following each month’s zodiac sign, we’re exploring and uncovering essential leadership qualities for each sign of the zodiac.  We’re looking at real life examples of established leaders whose birthdays fall into each particular sign.  We’re testing the principles of textbook astrology and adding a few guidelines of our own as we discover them.  The purpose of the project is to recognize the leadership qualities we naturally possess and to recognize those qualities in other leaders.

First let’s define what we mean by a leader.  The American Heritage Dictionary defines a leader as 1) a person who leads others along a way; a guide, and 2) one in charge of or in command of others.  For our purposes, we’ll take both definitions and apply them to business life.  In this series we’ll look at thought leaders, political leaders, business leaders, sports figures, and a few of us regular people too.

This month:  Aquarius

There are many interesting leaders born under the sign of Aquarius.  Today we’ll continue our exploration with Franklin D. Roosevelt.  First, though, let’s list the primary traits of the Aquarius nature we’ve already discovered and then add bullet points as we examine FDR and his leadership attributes.  (*See the excerpt at the bottom of this post for more discussion of the sign Aquarius.)

The experts tell us:

  • Each sign has its keyword, a phrase which captures the essence of the sign.  The keyword for Aquarius is “I Know.”  Aquarians know what they know and they’re certain they’re right!
  • “Aquarians are the mental pioneers, the forward thinking individuals who live in the future and not in the past.” (Isabel Hickey, Astrology A Cosmic Science)
  • “Aquarians are inflexible in their ideas and cannot be pushed into anything they do not want to do.” (Ibid.)
  • “They are rebels and individualists [who] have to go their own way.  Independent, imaginative, creative and inventive, there is a genius about them if they are evolved.” (Ibid.)
  • Ruled by two planets, Saturn and Uranus, Aquarians can be progressive in some ways and conservative in others.
  • In Aquarius, “the individual loses himself in the group and shoulders his responsibility as a cell in the larger body of humanity.” (Liz Greene, Saturn)

What we’ve discovered in this series so far:

  • The Aquarian support for the disenfranchised often stems from personal experience.  This lends authenticity to their deep compassion for the downtrodden.
  • As an air sign, Aquarians lead primarily with ideas.  They are often thought leaders, out in front, pulling the public into new perceptions.
  • Aquarians have been called “stubbornly liberal.”  There is a fixed nature to Aquarius, the persistence and determination to right the wrongs they perceive in society.
  • Searing intelligence is a common trait of Aquarius.
  • Aquarians carry an inborn conflict.  They are often fiercely independent yet committed to humanitarian causes, which brings them into necessary contact with groups.
  • Devotion to the common man is a standard trait of most Aquarians
  • There is often seemingly unflagging energy and a huge quantity of output.  This deep reserve of energy is a feature of all of the fixed signs and it shows itself here in fixed-air Aquarius.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt

If you have ever studied the life and work of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 32nd President of the United States, you can immediately recognize the traits of Aquarius.  See if you see the traits listed above as part of his story.  At the end of this short study, I’ll bullet leadership qualities which add to our list.

(I compiled the following from Franklin and Eleanor:  An Extraordinary Marriage, by Hazel Rowley; the Wikipedia article, “Franklin D. Roosevelt”; and the “Fresh Air” Interview with historian Jeff Shesol , author of Supreme Power: Franklin Roosevelt vs. the Supreme Court.)

Franklin Roosevelt surrounded himself with a loyal, intimate group of advisors, naming them the “Brain Trust.”  He gathered these men and women to the governor’s mansion when he was governor of New York, the White House when he was president, and to his home and retreat sites, as well.  They were university professors, lawyers, and financiers from the left and right.  He had a talent “for selecting colleagues, and knew instinctively who would make loyal, hardworking, good-humored members of his team.” (Rowley)  His group would “bat ideas around,” as he put it.  There were discussions about policy, as well as swims, receptions, movies, and picnics.

People working for Roosevelt found their work deeply rewarding.   They were invited into the most important discussions about the biggest issues of the time, and often met with the President while he was shaving or eating breakfast.  In fact, he made the biggest mistake of his presidency, in which he tried to pack the Supreme Court with his own appointees, when he kept the project unusually secretive, vetting it with only one key member of his cabinet.

Both he and his wife, Eleanor, enjoyed communal living and often had ten or more advisors and friends living with them.  “They liked to have friends sleeping across the hallway, who wandered into their bedrooms in pajamas to discuss urgent matters.”  (Rowley)

Even when his health was failing in his 4th term of presidency, FDR travelled internationally to negotiate wartime alliances with Russia, Britain, and China.  Eleanor Roosevelt said of him that “he had chosen to sacrifice his private life to a higher cause and he must do everything in his power to fulfill his promise to the people.” (Rowley)

A wealthy New York aristocrat from one of the earliest U.S. families, he brought the five-day week, old-age pensions, farm relief, cheap electricity to rural areas, unemployment relief through public works, social security benefits, disability benefits, minimum wage, and aid for dependent mothers and children.  He worked with the Boy Scouts his entire life.  He spent his life in political opposition to most of his relatives and people in his class and they were convinced he was going to turn the country socialist.

Roosevelt also fostered artistic creativity and through various Federal Arts Projects employed artists, writers, and actors.  Through the Works Progress Administration, he led the construction of public buildings, roads, bridges, parks, schools, and housing, which provided employment for millions of Americans.

FDR was one of the first politicians to recognize the importance of radio as a tool of communication.  At the end of his first week in the White House, he initiated his “fireside chat.”  During these radio addresses, he explained “simply and without condescension” why he and his advisors were taking the actions they were taking to address the worst economic conditions the country had ever faced.  “As he talked his head would nod and his hands would move in simple, natural, comfortable gestures.  His face would smile and light up as though he were actually sitting on the front porch or in the parlor with them. People felt this, and it bound them to him in affection.”  (Rowley)

The Four Freedoms engraved on a wall at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington. (Source: Wikipedia)

In the early affronts of Nazi Germany, Roosevelt was the only major world leader to condemn Hitler’s actions publicly.  Under his leadership, the United States surpassed Britain as the most powerful nation in the world.  At home, as well as in international relations, FDR proposed “the policy of the good neighbor—the neighbor who resolutely respects himself and…respects the rights of others.”

Among his many firsts, he was the first candidate to make a campaign trip by airplane.  He was the first president to put a woman in charge of the Department of Labor.  He was the first American president to travel to Africa.

Aquarian Leadership Qualities

What can we add to our list of Aquarian Leadership from this story?  This is what I see:

  • The Aquarius does not generally think he/she has all of the answers.  They are open to input from various sources.  They enjoy a good debate and willingly engage with opposing points of view.
  • Alliances based upon and supported by friendship are deeply important to Aquarians.  A community brings out the best of their traits and they are loyal to others over the long-term.
  • Aquarians “sacrifice their private life to a public cause.”  Becoming obsessed with that cause they can fall into workaholism and forfeit their own health for others.
  • Aquarians tend to be “ahead of the curve” with technology, early adopters of the latest breakthroughs.  They have an intuitive resonance with the future and an uncanny ability to foretell the direction of coming change.
  • Aquarians have a natural facility with words and can be excellent communicators.  They have an informal, casual conversational style which conveys confidence and garners trust.
  • Aquarians have great courage when defending the rights of others.

Now It’s Your Turn

Did you pick up anything I didn’t note?  Are you familiar with an Aquarian in a leadership position who reflects the qualities above?  What would you counsel a young Aquarian just stepping into a position of leadership?

We’re not done yet!  While the Sun is in Aquarius, I’ll feature more profiles of Aquarian leaders to teach and inspire us!  Stay tuned.  If you missed the first post in this series, use this link:  Aquarius Leadership – Yoko Ono.


For an Intro to Sun Signs and Leadership see this link to my other blog!

Have you seen my new blog? Discussing all things astrological, for anyone interested in real-life astrology, check out Ellen Longo’s Astrology Blog.

Do you have a question for Ellen? See the “Work with Ellen” tab at the top of this site for my Straight to the Point Response service.

For an overview of the month, see the Astro4Business Month Ahead – February 2011

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