By: Kris Colley
A quality leader in 2015 is someone who exemplifies the attributes of being respectful, mindful, courteous, sincere, and honest.
A leader should be respectful of anyone who presents themselves in front of them. They should be respectful of other’s beliefs and opinions even if they vastly differ from their own. Leaders, especially minority ones, need not judge actions, but rather motives. Within the motive lies the problem and solution to the obstacle presented.
Also, the motive is where understanding thrives. Minority leaders will be given less intrinsic respect, thus they must bestow more upon each individual they come in contact with.
Lao Tzu exclaimed that, “a leader cannot be seduced by offers or threats. Money, love, or fame – whether gained or lost – do not sway the leader from center.” Leaders must remain mindful of everything that may make them less effective as a leader.
If they are in a debate with someone of different beliefs or backgrounds, the leader must be mindful that there may not be much common ground. But that knowledge should not daunt a good leader from providing their undivided point. Being mindful of existing opportunities will also establish the look of a leader in 2015. Both leaders from the Black Lives Matter and My Asian American Story Twitter movements identified “if the enemy leaves a door open, you must rush in,” being mindful of opportunity allowed their collective voices to be heard and acknowledged.
Lastly, be mindful that some will still fight the ideas of minorities tooth and nail. As W.E.B. DuBois bellowed in The Souls of Black Folk, “America is not another word for opportunity to all of her sons and daughters.”
A minority leader in 2015 must be courteous. Even in humorous situations maintain the cognitive process that what may be comical to most could deeply affect others. It is easy to overlook those individuals as soft or humorless, but effective leaders do not write off individuals no matter how sensitive. Being courteous takes a lot of courage. Because it challenges you to do what most will not do.
Being courteous to others will greatly build morale with everyone you encounter. Each minority leader in 2015 has been in a situation when someone has made a snide or crude underhanded remark or sang EVERY lyric to a Waka Flocka song in front of them. In each situation, if the initiator had practiced the art of being courteous to the person that wasn’t like them, it would have avoided an awkward or uncomfortable situation.
Sun Tzu wrote in his epic, The Art of War, “His victories bring him neither reputation for wisdom nor credit for courage.” What this illustrates is today’s leaders must walk and act with a humble sincerity. Remaining sincere is necessary because it is evident.
Being sincere is as obvious as the sun shining or a river flowing. The individuals listening to you can easily decipher if you mean what you say. A leader cannot earn the attention or respect of a congregation if their sincerity is not instinctively felt.
The concluding attribute that a minority leader must personify is honesty. When someone, anyone, is honest it is hard to dismiss him or her. Before a leader can be honest with anyone they must be first honest with themselves. Meaning that the most critical person of your leadership skills should be you. Leaders must be honest with themselves that they are putting in the effort without seeing the pay off.
An honest connection is the most harmonic way of growing and strengthening a relationship. Building and specializing in honest behaviors will yield more beneficial results than any other behavior ever could.
In closing, a minority leader in 2015 should look like what a leader in 1965 looked like and what a leader in 3015 will look like; That is an individual that is respectful, mindful, courteous, sincere, and honest to all people and all beliefs.
A leader must be confident enough to fail, but to always fail forward. Marcus Garvey once stated, “With confidence, you have won before you have started”. Leaders don’t have to be a messiah; they just have to be stable, ethical, and valuable.
Proverb: People search their entire lives for a sense of happiness. What many people seldom seem to notice is that happiness lies within positivity. The more positive you can become the more happiness you will see. Pass on positivity, and be amazed how much you receive.
By: Kristopher Colley, II