What is leadership without....

| October 4, 2007 - 6:02 pm

Tags: activism, change, leadership

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In my leadership studies at Baylor University in central Texas, I've come to notice that handling dissent can show how leaders fare in the face of adversity. A good leader not only knows themselves - their strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies - but also they know how to speak to those that may not agree with them.

Part of my recent experiences with this has been in challenging majority communities to see, recognize, and embrace the needs of the marginalized. For some communities, they include people of color or a different sexual orientation. While it is easiest to lead with a room full of committed supporters, the best leaders can look into the crowd for those with less enthusiasm and vigor to bring them on board.

As you consider what leadership looks like on your campus, I would encourage you to look past the planning, mobilizing, activism and busyness for the internal cause that drives your constant doing. The relationships you chose to develop versus those you wouldn't mind losing are a testament to your character. I strongly believe that a healthy dealing of dissent serves as mark of leadership genius. Being able to challenge differing ideas is not easy, and it should never be. Leaders must challenge people to lose a part of themselves that is not congruent with what they say - to match action with ideology is not impossible for those willing to put in the work.

In all, I wish you the very best of luck to you, change agents!