The three prospects of leadership.
Leaders can only be as effective as the people they governs
If Leadership was a vessel then where ever it would lead us would be up to our engagement. Likewise, leaders are there to perform the deed of the people to whom they are in charge of governing; therefore it is we the people who should decide where our ship goes.
There have never been any leaders who were not lacking in leadership, thus it is the members who are being led who can improve their leader’s guidance. Any discouragement to address your leader when you think that he or she has been wrong is a direct path to monarchism.
I had a conversation in regard to leadership role with Colonel Mario LaPaix who is presently active with the U.S. Marines. Throughout the end of the conversation I realized that leadership is relative to ones education and societal values.
However, regardless of our differences, Mr. LaPaix is to me a great leader in his own right. What I gathered from this conversation is that no matter the reason why we are engaged in war, the soldiers are never to blame. He is a leader for given 32 years of his life serving our country as a militant. But apparently he is more than that, because he didn’t get the name “LaPaix” without exercising rules of conduct to achieve “Paix” which off course stands for “peace”. So when the US military sends LaPaix to Haiti they expect to get exactly that “La Paix”.
Leadership is divided between active leadership, passive and reactive. And as for Col. LaPaix he is an active leader of the US Marines Corp. His leadership however is relative to societal values, which imply that those who are against US intervention in certain countries may view his leadership as meaningless. Meanwhile, his leadership is held at great value to members of the Military along with their families. In that sense, he is obviously a good leader, but perhaps not for those of us who view his involvement as being a chief against the Indians.
The other form of active leadership is our social activists who are often against US involvement in most wars. As you can see the two are never equally identical, wherever there is a quest for power the resistance to obtain it multiply a million fold. And social activists are as much in the interest of their country as Col. LaPaix, the difference lies between their level of awareness and value system.
Where the activist is against the war because the sum total of our engagement doesn’t economically benefit the US population at large, The Colonel is for the war because of the benefit it brings the US military and also because of the push to secure our boarders against terrorism for those of us who still believe that the threat is still alive.
Now, from looking at the interest, we have visualized the platform by which leadership is sustain. From this perspective we’ve found it reasonable to say that leadership is relative to societal values plus the education obtained.
Passive leadership on the other hand needs a hand to improve leadership. Those are people in society who understand the need for improvements but somehow won’t participate in protest unless the active leaders urge them to do so.
The only problem there is that there are more people who are passive leaders than there are those who are active. The active leader’s dreams are to change those passive leaderships into real activist work. To achieve that goal they have armed themselves with educational tools and tactic to enlighten the public about the issues that consumed us all.
As we know, leaders are evaluated by their performance. However, what makes a passive leader into an active one is mostly base on his or her engagements; anything else may be viewed as puppet leadership.
We are well aware by now that you can start off as a community organizer and become the president of the United States. So as you can see all leadership roles have had a start, the finish line is determined by the effort that has been placed in the engagement.
Community organizing means working with a small sample of the population at large; it allows us to familiarize ourselves with the issues while learning how to solve them on a smaller scale. Thus, community organizing is an active leadership role since it calls for a full engagement with those within the community. The evidence of that outcome sits at the executive branch of our government.
Reactive leadership however doesn’t come into play until some event cause people to react. Events like Immigration Rights, Iraq War and LGBT Rights. Those are events that bring about reactive leadership; the advantage from that result is the fact that some of those people remained passive leaders after being involved in a protest. Some of them have remained involve to the point where they became students of activism.
From this perspective, we can conclude that the number one thing that urges a protester to become a passive leader is education, educations about the issues at hand, education about interest vs. disadvantages, and education about their rights. Therefore, a real education is the means to all ends where without it people are more likely to fight among one another for a chance to destroy each other.
As we have seen in Haiti and across the globe, the lack of awareness has blindfolding the globe leaving it in total darkness. This is why they must be some kind of balance that permits at least a little light to shine through, without that we could have all tips over into an infinite darkness of chaos.
As we have witnessed, leaders are quick to offer us their promises which often are not delivered. And if we were to rationalize promise we would have noticed that all promises starts off like an inflated balloon, the bigger the balloon the higher the expectation of the promise becomes.
However, if for some reason the balloon burst while being inflated, the promise is said to have caused a disappointment. We live in a world that is being inflated with undelivered promises, and it is because of these promises that the effect of our planet has become so apparent. It has come to a point where we can't remove the "smell" out of "bull..." anymore. No matter where you hide it, the people will smell it.
At the same time we should remember that those social activists who brought us the truth have no power of they own except for the one you have given them. In that sense, you should never think for once that they are not pressured for it. Therefore, they can only be as powerful as the trust that you have placed in them.
We often hear the quitter’s mind repeats that “we should stop talking about the things that we cannot change”. Meanwhile, what they are really doing is giving each other a reason to quit. If Dr. King was a quitter, Viola Luiuzzo, Frederick Douglass, W.E.B DuBois, Marcus Garvey, Jerry Mitchell and Rosa Parks were quitters, black people in this country would still have their seats behind that bus. Obviously, it is through communication that the struggle to any progress begins, and if there is anything that shouldn’t be talk about is our failure to commit ourselves to make that change. Will you vote this upcoming election?
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Dr. Joy DeGruy is a nationally and internationally renowned researcher, educator, author and presenter. An ambassador for social justice, Dr. Joy is on a quest to help others discover healing.
- Chief of Staff
Col. Mario LaPaixChief of Staff, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Africa