Sunday, January 6, 2008

Alienation, righteous anger, learning and leadership

Righteous anger. Is it OK? That's always a personal decision, but here are some thoughts.

Enablers rarely can do their work well when they have overt enemies. Subtlety is everything. So the leader usually leads a quiet moral life. That is, the leader is discreet. But are they quiet? No.

The leader presses a point but listens to counter-views. A teacher helps the learner to find their own place. So what about agendas? No. Leadership and agenda are mutually exclusive...they must be. The loud who call themselves leaders are from an age past. Use them, avoid them, laugh at them...teach them.

Sometimes a position of disrespect that is violent, angry or outright wrong is encountered. What then? I believe the leader fights it, that is, encounters it. But the leader retires from the fight as soon as it it over. And when is it over? When the constituents can engage with transparency and respect...not when the outcome suits us. In short, do the right thing but judge minimally. Do not avoid judgment, but judge minimally.

We learn. Sometimes others have not learned as much though learning is not a single progression, nor is is a collaborative effort not a perspective. This is a great challenge. Where one has learned, learning is almost always esteemed. Where people are very structured and broken, learning will be spurned. Here the leader must be subversive, persistent and very focused on enabling the activists who expand moral actions. What is moral? That question embodies leadership. It usually entails reflection, caution, self-doubt, and humility. But there are no formulas. Where there are formulas, there is no leadership.

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