Holiday Wishlist: More Courageous Leaders
When I was a young professional, just getting started at the University at Buffalo, I was desperate to identify our city’s movers and shakers so that I could introduce myself and offer support. Whenever I attended a meeting or lunched with someone who I deemed important, I would ask them who they thought had the greatest chance of leading our community forward, not guided by politics or self-serving motivations, but by courage and vision. Each time I posed this question I eagerly awaited the response only to be disappointed with the silence and discomfort at the other end.
Those were difficult times for me but I am happy to report that I have since discovered a few courageous leaders with whom I’ve managed to forge close collaborations and friendships. While each is different in their unique approach and contributions they are all guided by unwavering principles and ideals. And even in the face of challenge and unrest they continue to make decisions based on the greater good regardless of personal consequences or implications.
For me these leaders were like an oasis, nourishing and replenishing me during times of professional drought, giving me the strength to persevere.
But when I think about all that it has taken to put me into contact with these exceptional individuals, I fear that other professionals will be less fortunate. While we all have greatness within, we also have an inherent need to be inspired. In my dear friend Olu’s words, the best leaders “dip themselves in gold”, leading by example and elevating all who know them.
With the holidays approaching I am especially thankful for the courageous leaders who continue to shape my life. But when it comes to my wishlist for the community/world, I would have to put more courageous leaders at the very top……..