Leadership Learnings: Broke-Ass Stuart

It’s the next installment of Leadership Learnings, where we ask a diverse group of individuals what qualities are important in a leader. Today, we’re talking with Broke-Ass Stuart.

Broke-Ass Stuart raising his fist

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website BrokeAssStuart.com is one of the most influential arts and culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area. Given his background, he’s seen and dealt with a lot of great and not-so-great leaders. He even ran for San Francisco mayor back in 2015. He may not be the obvious choice to talk about leadership, but that’s kinda the point. Here’s what he says.


A really important trait for leaders is being able to take accountability even if it’s not necessarily your fault. Like if the people under you fuck up, you need to eat the shit and be willing to do that. I had this manager at a bar/restaurant I worked at — really nice guy, really cool guy. And he’s the kind of guy, if we’re busy, he’d hop behind the bar and roll up his sleeves and wash dishes. He was a nice sweet dude, but also would totally admonish you when necessary. And I think that’s really important. Having someone who won’t be a total pushover, but will lead with kindness and generosity.

Broke-Ass Stuart approves of this baby

Don’t be a total pushover but lead with kindness and generosity.

Matt Haney (San Francisco Board of Supervisors – District 6) is doing a really great job in the political sphere because he takes accountability. He’s the supervisor for the Tenderloin so there’s a lot of shit, a lot of literal shit, you know? He accepts accountability.

Matt Haney working with children on the computer

Photo: MattHaney.com

He engages with his constituents in, in a really cool way too. He’s very active, answering questions on his Twitter, conversing and having dialogue about the many, many issues in the Tenderloin and SOMA. He’s a great leader.

Types of Leadership

There are all kinds of leaders. It’s one thing to be leading people in a work environment and it’s another thing to be leading people in a political environment, movement, or even a family. You have to lead by example. And maybe not even admonish people because your job is to shepherd them into something as opposed to get them to produce money.

It’s funny because this makes me think of rolling out of bed and checking Apple News. INC Magazine will have an article like “These are the 4 words that prove Warren Buffet has great emotional intelligence.” Those things are bullshit. People fawning over someone who’s rich is not my thing. But to be fair, I’ve never really worked in a corporate environment. I guess there’s definitely a different kind of leadership with that, which I’m not quite experienced with. I live my life in a way where I don’t want to be a leader but I also don’t want to be a follower. I’m doing my own thing and if you want to come along, come along with.

What do you think of Broke-Ass Stuart and his take on leadership? Leave a comment or nominate someone we need to hear from in this series.