ALABAMA COUNSELING ASSOCIATION n Leadership Handbook
"The price of the democratic way of life is a growing appreciation of people's differences, not merely as tolerable, but as the essence of a rich and rewarding human experience."
"We have become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams."
"Since when do you have to agree with people to defend them from injustice?"
LEADERS MAKE A DIFFERENCE
By Michael Lebeau / ALCA President 2004-05
It is important to remind ourselves of the awesome responsibility we have as leaders and the unique opportunity and privilege we have to serve others. As leaders, we are role models who set the pace, the mood, and sometimes the agenda. Our integrity as leaders is crucial to the people for whom we are advocates, allies and protectors. We cannot take lightly the vital role we play in ensuring the wellbeing of the marginalized, mistreated and disenfranchised members of our communities.
Leaders are special people. They are among the extraordinary individuals who make this world a better place by making a difference in the lives of others. They have chosen to serve. Leaders, then, must have the integrity and strength of character to put the needs and concerns of others ahead of their own. Leaders must be selfless in their desire to ensure the success of others, fearless in their zeal to protect the dignity of others, and relentless in their defense of the rights of others.
As such, leaders are courageous individuals who possess the necessary confidence and personal stability to interact with a broad diversity of people representing a wide variety of backgrounds and issues. Leaders are not judgmental or closed-minded when encountering individuals of diverse belief, thought and lifestyle.
Leaders do not feel threatened by those whose values differ from their own. They do not feel insecure. They, in fact, seek to understand, accept, affirm and celebrate the differences in others, knowing that the world is big enough for all people.
Whenever we feel threatened by those around us whose values and beliefs differ from ours, our leadership is in question. Whenever we can't be bothered to make accommodations for the values and beliefs of those who are different from us, our leadership is weak.
To test whether or not you are an effective leader, simply turn around and take a good look at your followers. If they look just like you, think just like you, behave just like you, you're not a real leader. Great leadership inspires diversity in its followers and makes room at the table for everyone.
"To be a leader means, especially, having the opportunity to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those who permit leaders to lead."
“The purpose of life is not to win. The purpose of life is to grow and to share. When you look back on all you have done in life, you will get more satisfaction from the pleasure you brought into other people’s lives than you will from the times you outdid and defeated them.”
(RABBI HAROLD KUSHNER)
"We all like to think of ourselves as winners. We must pay attention to people's dominant need to be winners. Label a person a loser and he'll start acting like one."
(PETERS & WATERMAN)
"People who feel good about themselves produce good results."
(BLANCHARD & JOHNSON)
“A life isn’t significant
except for its impact on other lives.”
“Effective leaders foster an environment of inclusiveness. Inclusive organizations not only have diverse individuals involved, they value the perspectives and contributions of all people, and strive to incorporate the needs and viewpoints of all its members.
An attitude of inclusiveness begins with a fundamental understanding and belief that different communities have different strengths and needs, and there are cultural nuances that impact how people think and behave. Inclusive organizations understand that all people do not respond in the same way to messages, and they recognize that it is important to communicate in culturally appropriate and sensitive ways.
Inclusive organizations are able to bridge cultural gaps between people from different backgrounds, and they try to ensure that all voices are listened to and that all backgrounds are respected. Inclusive organizations are self-aware. This means that they intentionally solicit and listen to feedback about themselves. They realize that there are no simple answers to the challenges of living in a diverse world, but that our diverse communities provide opportunities at many levels. They understand that conflict is natural and do their best to effectively anticipate, manage, and resolve conflict.
Inclusive organizations are most successfully built by organizational leaders who are open to change, willing to look inward, and willing to bring everyone together for an open, honest dialogue. This type of dialogue begins the process of creating an inclusive organization.”
"We value the whole person and everything that each one has to offer, obvious and not so obvious. I believe that every person should have the chance to realize his or her potential, regardless of color, race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, age, sexual orientation, educational background, family status, skill level, and physical ability. When we are truly inclusive, I believe we go beyond toleration to really understanding what makes us unique and what unites us as human beings."
(BRIAN WALKER / PRES & CEO OF HERMAN MILLER CO.)
"We need diversity of thought in the world to face the new
"What we have to do is to find a way to celebrate our diversity and debate
our differences without fracturing our communities.”
By Michael Lebeau / ALCA President 2004-05
Leadership is about defending others, not about defending oneself. Leadership is about involving and developing others, not finding one's own success. Leadership is about fostering an environment that is open and affirming to all people, not about gathering together certain people of like mind and opinion.
To be a leader, then, requires courage. To be a leader oftentimes involves taking risks. To be a leader means that we regularly find ourselves in the arena. It requires commitment and determination. It requires the utmost audacity and boldness to risk being an advocate for our clients, to address wrongful acts, to defend those who are mistreated, to aggressively speak out against injustices in our society, and to fight ignorance and hatred.
Leaders should be leading the way in advancing the cause of human rights. We do not have the luxury to ignore or deny the pleas from those who need our help. We cannot turn away from the problems around us. It is inherent in our charge as leaders to be advocates on behalf of those who are suffering. With a renewed sense of the courage, compassion and character it takes to be a leader, we can confront injustice, we can fight for those who can't fight for themselves, and we can be a catalyst for positive change.
WE ARE ALL CONNECTED
By Michael Lebeau / ALCA President 2004-05
In his book, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom relates his theme: "There are no random acts. We are all connected. You can no more separate one life from another than you can separate the breeze from the wind. Strangers are just family you have yet to come to know." With this idea in mind, consider leadership within the context of interdependence. Great leaders meet the challenge of diversity head on by fostering an inclusive environment, inspiring teamwork, and encouraging collaborative efforts. They seek the factors that unite rather than divide. They recognize the connectedness of all humanity and the importance of service. As Herman Melville states, "We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellowman."
A purposeful life is derived from an attitude of service. Laurence Boldt discusses this idea in his book, How to Find the Work You Love. He says: "Meaningfulness begins with recognizing that you are not alone, that you are part of the human community, that everything you do sends a ripple through the entire human family. Allow your natural compassion to suggest creative ways that you can serve this family of yours. Meaning is not found in acquisition, but in feeling ourselves a part of something greater."
We are all connected. We are all part of the human community. As we reflect on our time on earth and on the people that surround us daily, we realize that we are all in this together. As a result, we must consider how critical it is for people to work together and help each other. We rely on each other. We need each other to survive. To quote George Bernard Shaw: "We are all dependent on one another, every soul of us on earth."
This concept is further explained by Stephen Covey in his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. He discusses the idea of interdependence as he relates: "We each begin life as an infant, totally dependent on others. Then gradually, over the ensuing months and years, we become more independent, until eventually we can essentially take care of ourselves, becoming inner-directed and self-reliant. As we continue to grow and mature, we become increasingly aware that all nature is interdependent, that there is an ecological system that governs nature, including society. We further discover that the higher reaches of our nature have to do with our relationships with others -- that human life also is interdependent." Stephen Covey further explains: "Interdependence is the highest level of maturity. If I am interdependent, I am self-reliant and capable, but I also realize that you and I working together can accomplish far more than I could accomplish alone. As an interdependent person, I have the opportunity to share myself deeply, meaningfully, with others, and I have access to the vast resources and potential of other human beings."
Despite our differences, there are many things we share in common with members of the human community. More things unite us than divide us. "Ideologies separate us,” says Eugene Ionesco, but, “dreams and anguish bring us together."
The challenge of diversity is to bring together the disparate elements of society to create a new and richer experience that celebrates the variety of contributions each person is able to make. Jesse Jackson recognizes: "America is not like a blanket -- one piece of unbroken cloth, the same color, the same texture, the same size. America is more like a quilt -- many pieces, many colors, many sizes, all woven together by a common thread."
David Maupis observes: "Part of the difficulty is the tendency to think one's own values and positions are best for society and then reaching to impose them with little regard for our deep differences. There's a natural tendency to be fearful of difference and seek the comfort zone of mirror images of ourselves. I suggest we can get along and disagree simultaneously if we cultivate the arts of persuasion, mutual respect and a sense of humor. At times unhindered conversation may translate into a verbal slug fest, but it may not mean going for the jugular. The shouting matches in the streets can serve as a wake-up call that forces us to re-examine what it means to live in a pluralistic and tolerant America."
It’s not a matter of us and them. It’s a matter of coming together in a spirit of understanding. In respecting the perspectives of others, and in establishing a tolerant, open-minded, and affirming attitude, we begin to foster an environment that is conducive to all persons. We don’t have to think alike and act alike to get along. We can hold different beliefs, perspectives, and values and still respect each other. We may disagree on certain issues, but we can still come together as friends. As Dave Mason says in his song: "There ain't no good guys. There ain't no bad guys. There's only you and me. And we just disagree."
The challenge of diversity involves differences in race, ethnicity, religion, politics, and lifestyle, just to name a few. Susan Stanberg has observed: "American democracy is often a messy business. So many different values and views, groups all struggling, often one against another, to put their stamp on an elusive but vital reality . . . American culture. Sometimes the views are so different that it's hard to find much common ground . . . So many perspectives on the racial, sexual, religious and cultural differences that define, enrich and deeply divide our nation."
Blimling and Miltenberger add their comments to discussion: "When people from different ethnic and racial heritages live together, one can anticipate some conflicts that arise as the cultural norms and expectations of one group come in conflict with those of another group. Know as much as you can about their culture and show respect for their culture. By encouraging appreciation of the diversity of cultures, you develop tolerance for other lifestyles and an acceptance of the heterogeneous, culturally diverse environment in which we all live. Society is becoming increasingly pluralistic. Learning to adopt a sense of understanding and acceptance helps people develop the social sensitivity and cultural appreciation they need to work and function cooperatively in today's society."
Cooperation and collaboration are possible when we adopt a spirit of interdependence. When we recognize that we are all connected, and that we have a duty to serve humanity, we realize that we can live above our own needs. Leaders who seek to serve others and to work for the good of others are said to be self-actualized individuals. Self-actualization is a concept that was researched by Abraham Maslow. A self-actualized person, he said, has risen above his or her own needs, and actively seeks to address the needs of others. A self-actualized person is someone who has consciously elevated his or her life beyond self-interest. A self-actualized person is willing to contribute to the wellbeing of others, to serve others, and to make sacrifices for others.
Martin Luther King, Jr. has said, "An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity." Albert Einstein similarly notes: "A person starts to live when he can live outside of himself. A person's value to the community primarily depends on far his feelings, thoughts and actions are directed towards promoting the good of his fellows. Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile."
It is this attitude that establishes us as a true leader and grants meaning and purpose to our lives. It is this approach to living that reflects a spirit of interdependence and self-actualization. As Joseph Campbell has stated, "When we quit thinking primarily about ourselves and our own self-preservation, we undergo a truly heroic transformation of consciousness."
If The World Were a
Village of 100 People
I Hear Them All: Old
Crow Medicine Show
Imagine - Playing for
If the world were a village... If we could reduce the world’s population down to a village of 100 inhabitants with all the human ratios remaining the same… it would look like this…
60 Asians (20 Chinese, 17 Indians)
14 Americans (6 North American, 8 South American)
6 persons possess 59 % of the village's wealth… 5 of them are Americans
50 of the inhabitants live on
2 dollars a day…
25 persons consume three quarters
of all the energy…
75 persons consume the remaining
80 persons live in poor-quality housing
17 persons have no access to medical services, decent shelter or drinking water
50 persons suffer from malnutrition
70 persons are illiterate
1 person has a college education
ALABAMA COUNSELING ASSOCIATION n Leadership Handbook