I am a 33 year old white male that has grown up all my life not worried about oppression. I am not going to pretend to understand or act like I know what many in the black community feel. Having said that, I truly believe, what Charlotte has is a leadership problem.
It’s time for leaders to act from the the front lines. During the first few nights of riots in downtown Charlotte, Public defender Toussaint Romain did just that. He parked himself right in the middle of a wall of policemen and an amorphous crowd of demonstrators. Unfortunately he was one of the few leaders on the Charlotte streets those nights. Many other city leaders had taken that time to talk to media outlets like CNN and Fox News seemly focused on publicity. There certainly are times for such publicity but it seemed ill timed. The only way this attention on Charlotte ends up being any good is if this creates a better environment than before and results in the creation of more leaders, not less.
Why it was a Leadership Problem:
The best definition of leadership comes from the second President of the United States, John Adams: “If your ACTIONS inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more you are a leader.” I highlight the word actions, because during times like this it’s the RIGHT actions that create the change needed.
Unfortunately it’s inaction of leadership that’s failed to create an environment that sets people up for success. They’ve created a community of people, both black and white, who feel completely helpless, with no ability to change their situation. No one chooses the environment in which they are born into, or the color of their skin, but it’s our parents, political systems, churches, and companies who must pick up the slack and create environments that provide education, opportunity, and empowerment regardless of neighborhood or color.
I wish there was a magic formula or way to create a perfect environment, but there isn’t. I wish there was an easy way for people on both sides of the isle to come together and solve these issues immediately, but there isn’t. The only way towards improvement is for every single person involved to lead with action, stand up the in the face of fear, and be courageous. We need every person regardless if they are the Governor, Mayor, or Police Chief to be more like Toussaint Romain that understand the leadership formula I picked up from Tim Knight, E + R = O.
Event + Response = Outcome.
Every single person, community, and country will have events happen that are beyond their control. What they do have control over is their response to those events which will ultimately affect the outcome. It’s time that people from top to bottom become true leaders, and think hard about their response to events so they can create a better outcome for all.
John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft and Host of the Follow My Lead Podcast. He is passionate about the development of people. He writes, and speaks about modern leadership and learning techniques. You can find him on instagram @johngeades.
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