Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Taylor Swift for President 2024!

Written by: on February 19, 2024

Taylor Swift for president 2024!

Hear me out.

T-Swift is a RARE leader.

And, as the mother of a twelve-year-old daughter who is hungry for women role models, I endorse my daughter’s obsession with Taylor Swift.

According to authors, Marcus Warner and Jim Wilder, a RARE leader has “emotional intelligence” or EQ. Their thesis in their book, Rare Leadership; 4 Uncommon Habits for Increasing Trust, Joy, and Engagement in the People You Lead, is that the fruit of four uncommon habits related to emotional intelligence is a dramatic increase in trust, joy, and engagement in the people you lead.[1] These four habits all relate to the fast-track system of the brain, where our identity is formed and out of which we live relationally. The fast-track system controls how we regulate our emotions, how we remember who we are, who our people are, and how it is like us to act.[2] In other words, it is the emotional intelligence part of the brain. The four uncommon habits are to be able to Remain Relational, Act Like Yourself, Return to Joy and Endure Hardship Well. In their following book, Rare Leadership in the Workplace : Four Habits That Improve Focus, Engagement, and Productivity, they claim that a RARE leader leads with maturity and has learned to live their lives on the “high powered fuel of joy.”[3] Maturity, they claim, is the ability to remain relational (joyful even) when faced with conflict or hardship.[4]

I’ve been a Swiftie for a few years now and was once again impressed with my girl, T-Swift, when seeing her, exuding joy while cheering on and dancing to the music of other musicians at the Grammy’s. When she won Album of the Year, (not her first rodeo winning this award), she took the stage bringing along another musician who was up for the award and thanking her for her friendship. She continued gushing about how grateful she is that she gets to do the work of making music and performing. She was classy, relational with her fans as well as other musicians, she acted like herself, and she was joyful. As far as enduring hardship well, she uses her sufferings as fodder for songs…which isn’t the worst way to endure. Fans on social media discuss how personable Taylor is when they meet her and how she focuses on them as a person, holding her boundaries (I mean, she does have some fanatic fans!), yet, acknowledging and valuing their humanity. And dang, she has so much fun performing. She exudes joy in her concerts. Just watch the Eras movie for confirmation of exuding joy.

In the book, Rare Leadership in the Workplace, Warner and Wilder, write, “a definition of leadership needs to reflect both the work of the fast track and the slow track. The slow track excels at focus and problem solving, getting tasks done. The fast track specializes in relational connection. It tracks the world around it, and lets the slow track know where to put its focus. Part of what sets great leaders apart is their ability to “read” the lay of the land and recognize where the spotlight needs to be focused. Combining these activities leads us to define leadership as ‘creating engagement in what matters.’”[5] With fourteen albums, several Grammys, a continual sold-out tour during which she plays, sings and dances for three straight hours to packed stadiums, Taylor Swift has proven her ability to use her fast track to connect with her audience while using her slow track to get so many tasks done! A recent meme pokes fun at her ability to “do it all” by saying,

“A televangelist from Arkansas claims Satan is engineering Taylor Swift’s marriage to Travis Kelce so she can give birth to the antichrist and launch the apocalyptic thousand-year war against Christ.

Must she do everything? And during a world tour?”

All that to say, I think Taylor Swift should run for president in 2024. I mean, if Trump, a former celebrity who I consider to be a “sandbox” leader gets to run again, I have no doubt that Taylor Swift could sweep the election and we’d all be better for it![6]

Note: These books connected quite a bit with Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow,  Simon Walker’s Leading Out of Who You Are, as well as Edwin Friedman’s book, A Failure of Nerve. I’ve run out of word count (and time) to expand much on how these books connected but one can easily see the thread between Kahneman’s System 1 and System 2 thinking with Warner and Wilder’s fast-track and slow-track thinking. For Kahneman, our System 1 thinking effortlessly creates impressions and feelings that serve as the main sources for the deliberate choices of our System 2 thinking. For Wilder and Warner, our fast-track thinking is constantly scanning and figuring out how to be in relationship with the world around us, which informs our slow track as to what needs to be accomplished. Walker talks about how we should “lead out of who we are” while Wilder and Warner talk about “acting like yourself.” In other words, knowing who we are and how we might best act as a beloved child of God, helps us to be effective leaders. And finally, Friedman’s leader who is a non-anxious presence reminds me Wilder and Warner’s “mature” leader.

[1] Marcus Warner and Jim Wilder, Rare Leadership : 4 Uncommon Habits for Increasing Trust, Joy, and Engagement in the People You Lead, Moody Publishers, 2016, 12.

[2] Ibid, 21.

[3] Marcus Warner and Jim Wilder, Rare Leadership in the Worksplace: Four Habits That Improve Focus, Engagement, and Productivity, Moody Publishers, 2021, 11.

[4] Ibid, 36.

[5] Ibid, 27.

[6] Ibid, 56. On page 56, the authors write, “Sandbox leaders handle hardship like children,” a perfect description of how Donald Trump behaves.

About the Author

Kally Elliott

Mom of four. Wanna-be Broadway star. PC(USA) pastor. Wife. Friend. Sometimes a hot mess. Sometimes somewhat together. Is this supposed to be a professional bio?

17 responses to “Taylor Swift for President 2024!”

  1. mm Tim Clark says:

    I love your dot-connecting here between RARE Leadership and Taylor Swift. I’m not a Swiftie (my 16 year old daughter is) but I’d gladly vote for her over the other two choices we seem to have at the moment.

    • Kally Elliott says:

      Tim, I keep hoping, praying that another candidate will come out of the woodwork. Jana pointed out in her comment to me that reasonable people don’t want to be president…which may be why we have the candidates we have right now.

  2. Travis Vaughn says:

    There were indeed a lot of connections between Warner and Wilder’s books and the three you mentioned, especially Walker’s Leading With Nothing to Lose. Walker’s emphasis on the leader being attached to the “Other” and not depending on the applause of others for their identity/significance correlates with Warner and Wilder’s emphasis on the RARE leader not losing track of their connectedness to God / identity in Christ as their primary relationship (see chapters 7 and 8).

    And regarding Swift, she definitely manages to have the organizational protocols in place (Kahneman’s system 2) while balancing the intuitive. She’d make a great president with balancing the fast and slow track as you’ve described! As a life-long KC Chiefs fan (my grandparents lived in KC and so I grew up loving the Chiefs), I will say that although I knew of Taylor Swift and knew some of her music, I learned more about Swift in the past 1/2 year, than I (and any other Chiefs fan) could have imagined at the start of last semester.

  3. mm John Fehlen says:

    As a fellow Swiftie, and not embarrassed to admit it, I was sucked in by your post. And I could feel what you were connecting to in your post, readings, and overall culture (ie: politics) of our day.

    Few things that stand out about her:

    1. She knows who she is at the core, while being open to changing around the edges.

    2. She seems to have a moral center, while still being young, playful, edgy, and even sinful like the rest of us.

    3. She obviously has surrounded herself with a solid team.

    4. She taps into our emotions, perhaps better than any other artist right now.

    5. She’s a brilliant business person.

    I could keep going on and on. Let’s go Taylor!

    After I post this comment I will be playing the ten minute version of All Too Well. 🙂

    • Kally Elliott says:

      John, Brother in Christ, Fellow Swiftie. I knew I liked you. 🙂

      You nailed it when you said she knows who she is at the core while being open to changing around the edges. This is a beautiful description of what it means to know you belong to God too. To know who you are at the core (child of God), but open to changing around the edges (being playful, learning from mistakes, trying on new skills, costumes, ideas, etc). Thank you for giving me this language – being open to changing around the edges while staying true to the core of who I am.

  4. mm Kim Sanford says:

    I enjoyed reading your post. I’m curious if you’ve talked with your daughter explicitly about those things you admire in Taylor Swift? If so, what has been her reaction? Obviously, she loves Swift but does she see the same qualities you do?

    • Kally Elliott says:

      What a great question Kim! I am not sure that I have talked explicitly with my daughter about the things I like in Taylor Swift. We’ve watched her Eras Tour, the Grammy’s, documentaries, and listened to countless hours of her music together. I know I have made plenty of comments about her strength, her bad-assery, her classiness, her kindness toward other musicians, etc. I am not sure though I have looked at my daughter and talked to her explicitly about why I think TS is a good model for her though. Thank you for asking me this question. This will make for a fabulous conversation with my daughter.

  5. Cathy Glei says:

    My girls were all Swifties when she first came on the music scene. I enjoyed watching her cheer on her boyfriend, Travis Kelce, during the Super Bowl. Enjoy the teen years!!!

  6. Adam Cheney says:

    So… I’m not the only one to write about her….
    She’d make a great president but according to my kids who keep track of these things she is now just 34 and won’t be 35 to qualify for the ballot this year.

    • Kally Elliott says:

      Well, you just ruined my next four years. I forgot that presidential candidates have to be 35 years old. (I’m kidding. You didn’t ruin my next four years. I am now hopeful for 2028!)

      I haven’t read your blog post yet as I am barely making it through this week but I will get over there and read a fellow Swiftie’s blog post later today (can I call you a fellow Swiftie???)

  7. mm Russell Chun says:

    Hmmm…all this time I thought her name was TYLER Smith…oh well. Life in the slow lane. Yes, I will vote for her I was planning on writing in your name, but you convinced me that she has the relational energy this country needs.

    As I read the blogposts, I am rehearing our need to be RELATIONAL. I am so goal focused that I loose this relational aspect. On March 9, I am hosting an Immigration Symposium at Dallas Baptist University. Some great speakers and about 70 students (we have box lunches for 80) and NOW I am wondering how I can be relational? How can I make what could be either a CHAOTIC, POLARIZED discussion on immigration become a Third Space, a space of Grace.

    Hmmmmm….prayers welcome.


    • Kally Elliott says:

      Russell! You thought it was TYLER SMITH???? Do you live under a rock? I am just kidding of course. You are probably out doing way more important things than goggling over a celebrity. But yes, I do think leadership has to be relational. I am sure there are leaders out there (and I am really thinking of pastors) who have such a large congregation that it becomes impossible to be relational with a large portion of the church. However, I think I am called to be the kind of pastor who at least tries to know and be in relationship with the people she pastors. I preached yesterday on gun violence and while all the people who came to talk to me after said they appreciated the sermon – I heard rumor of those who were disgruntled that I would preach against guns. I tried to create a non-polarizing sermon, tried to find a third way, but I’m not sure that everyone heard it that way. All that to say, knowing you, you will find a third way, you will create a conversation full of grace and love. Your love for the immigrant and for Jesus shows in your life and in your work and I pray that all the people in that conversation will see that.

  8. Adam Harris says:

    Nice posts, I read it to my wife who is also a HUGE Swiftie, and she loved it. I have a lot of respect for Tay Tay, but my favorite music is EDM so…. lol. I do love that she is using her platform to put some love into the world, I still think she should have put the ERA’s tour out to buy not just rent for months! Fun posts! I would vote for her!

    • Kally Elliott says:

      So, I’m not an EDM lover but I think that is probably because I haven’t listened to much of it – except when I’m on the Peloton because some of the rides are “EDM rides.” Does that count? Also, I love lyrics to songs. Lyrics can sometimes make a song for me. If I am remembering correctly, EDM doesn’t really have lyrics??? Is that correct? Anyway, I think one of the reasons I love TS is because of her lyrics. Yes, many are of the middle school/high school girl genre, but part of me is stuck back in that era. I love a good breakup song. But, also, her newer music is deeper and has more bite to it…and I love that more!

  9. mm Jana Dluehosh says:

    I Love your post. I like Taylor Swift music, not as much as being a swiftie, but it’s her sheer power to hold space in every room she is in, in such an authentic way. I’d vote for her in a heart beat. Alas, I don’t think reasonable people want to be president. Thank you for bring forth a real life example of RARE leadership.

  10. Kally Elliott says:

    Jana! Gah! You are right, unfortunately! Reasonable people don’t want to be president! And, yes, it is her sheer power to hold space in every room she is in…and I don’t think that power just comes from her celebrity. I think it is because she knows who she is at her core.

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