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Stymie rivals with energy & choice words

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in Leaders & Managers,Workplace Communication

You’ll know you’ve made it as a leader when your enemies sit up and take notice.

In the case of U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, his enemies’ kinder labels for him include “New York’s other liberal senator” and “perhaps the key Democrat” on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which played a major role in vetting President Bush’s two recent successful Supreme Court nominations.

Schumer’s critics credit him with being intensely energetic. In 2004, Schumer raised more campaign money than anybody except presidential candidates Bush and John Kerry.

That leads to our next point, about being oh, so visible. Example: On the day that she planned to announce her pregnancy on TV, former New York Rep. Susan Molinari says, Schumer stole the show by whipping out a baby gift.

In fact, he’s so good at grabbing credit that it’s become a verb: “to Schume.”

And in an age of declining oratory, Schumer is not only articulate but he hones his rhetoric. When his opponents tried to stop filibusters, he accused them of wanting “to turn what the founding fathers called the cooling saucer of democracy into the rubber stamp of dictatorship.”

Lesson: You can increase your brain power only so much, but you certainly can give your rivals fits by bringing more energy, visibility and smart talk to the table.

—Adapted from “The Inquisitor: Charles Schumer, leader of the anti-Bush crusade,” John J. Miller, National Review.

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