In an interview when asked whether or not police reform is an issue of leadership, General John Allen said, “It’s all about leadership. Any reform is about leadership.”
This is not me jumping on the leadership bandwagon. Reform, fighting against the racism, brutal violence, and injustice against people of color that has plagued our country and world will take us making a deeper and more thoughtful investment in the current and next generation of leaders. Leading with compassion, courage, composure, thoughtfulness and a spirit of sacrifice takes incredible fortitude, preparation and support. The next leaders are our friends, family members, and children. Will we make the investment to prepare them well?
Leadership doesn’t magically appear. Leadership requires an intentional process of preparing people to go first well – to be courageous and humbly sacrificial in the same moment. Leaders who bring more compassion are often more vulnerable to the attacks that come when they step out. It’s much easier to be out front and take the hits if you are disconnected from the hearts of others. Let’s commit to identifying those with the courage to lead, and the heart to sacrifice, and prepare them for the challenging road that will reform our world. The pandemic of racism is real in every corner of our world, and the fight against it may be a long battle. It will take a rare kind of leader to bring about the reformation of love that will change our hearts and the systems that oppress so many.
Leadership is not a machine. Leadership is about leaders, people who have stepped out to lead and who have courageously and compassionately chosen to go first for the sake of every life, and not just those who look or think exactly like themselves. Let’s prepare people to lead. The leader’s road ahead is a tough road. Let’s prepare them for the journey, and continue the fight to reform our hearts and our world. It’s a charge I don’t take lightly as I know it will challenge me to change, to listen and to step out in ways I have not in the past. But, I am hopeful that I won’t be alone when I do.
-Dr. Rob McKenna