Former Vice President Joe Biden sat down with Oprah for a “SuperSoul Sunday” interview to discuss his time in the White House, and while he was there, he shared some thoughts on leadership and power.
Biden talked about his role in the White House and said, despite perceptions, the vice presidency has no power, but rather, his elevated position was the result of the trust and respect between former President Barack Obama and himself.
“There’s no power in the vice presidency,” Biden said in a clip of the upcoming show. “It’s all reflective. It comes from the president.”
The former vice president also discussed why people in power abuse that power, pointing out that these leaders start to think they really matter.
“I think the reason people abuse power is they, in fact, are seduced by the notion that they are so self-important, that they really matter,” Biden said. “When, in fact, it is not usually the case.”
Biden, whose memoir, “Promise Me Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship and Purpose,” is set to be released on Nov. 14, went on to talk about what makes a great leader, saying that a great leader knows his strengths and weaknesses and doesn’t let his ego take over.
“The leaders I’ve observed who are the best are the ones who have courage to take a chance and be willing to lose on principle, and, two, are self-aware,” Biden reflected. “They understand their strengths, and they understand their weaknesses. They play to their strengths, and they try to shore up their weaknesses.”
The clip ends with Biden pointing out what, he believes, is the downfall of many leaders, saying that without self-awareness their self-importance leads to the abuse of power.
“Most of the time,” Biden concludes, “that abuse ends up in their downfall as well.”
The former vice president also said during another clip from his interview with Oprah that he regrets that he’s not president “because I think there’s so much opportunity. I think America is so incredibly well positioned.”
Biden’s “SuperSoul Sunday” interview with Oprah airs on Nov. 12 at 11 ET/PT on OWN.