At the point when I lost my father, it really made me want to be like a father and be like my father. It was a real turning point for me because it helped me mature – it made me think about being responsible because I wasn’t the only one I had to think about (Scottie Pippen).
Besides being responsible for myself, I’m now responsible for someone else. And I have to set the right examples. I have to really be someone that I would want my child to look up to (Nicole Richie).
Great leadership is an invaluable inheritance!
“The greatest and most powerful leaders hold visions larger than themselves. Leaders leverage the power of their position to positively influence others, and to create real lasting change and impact – helping others to achieve more, become more and give more” (Team Tony, 2018).
Imagine that you are the leader of a global company founded almost 95 years ago. Among your assets are more than 40,000 employees, and their families, who depend on you. So, at a minimum, 160,000 persons are immediately affected by your decisions. Your employees not only need their salaries, but they also need the benefits for their children, advanced on-the-job training, and the opportunity to travel the world. What if that leader faced a bully who was coming to threaten his family? Would he be steamrolled or stand firm? Will the parental instinct to protect be stronger than the fear of retaliation from the bully? I believe so.
In the book of Nehemiah, the city walls were rebuilt only because Nehemiah told the builders to protect the section of the wall closest to their homes. Work with one hand, and fight with the other. Their enemies did not win despite constant attempts at bullying. They were parents and warriors first, and workers second. They worked together to ensure that they did not lose what they had inherited.
Something happens when leaders finally emerge at the front of the battle and raise a shield or a sword to the bully and say, “You will go no farther than here.” Leaders have an awareness that their followers are depending on them to keep the family/team/flock safe. Eriksonian development theory would suggest that this behavior would emerge in midlife when the psychosocial conflict of Generativity versus Stagnation is faced. So, they understand that they are role models for the next generation and desire to pass on their knowledge.
Viennese Psychologist, Viktor Frankl, said, “Each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible.”
Great leaders need more than technical know-how and business knowledge to be effective; “it is necessary to get into the values, beliefs and psychology of the person to understand why certain behaviors manifest themselves” (Neil Fogarty, 2016).
Leaders show that they are willing to take risks because the cost of inaction is too great (Ben Carson, 2007). Leaders show that they are the final point of decision-making when everyone else is stuck because, “Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose” (Lyndon B. Johnson). Great leaders know that the family is looking at them for an answer, and also to survive for a brighter future.
The rewards are generational. It is said that “A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children” (Proverbs 13:22a, NIV). The rewards are in the voices of our children and grandchildren saying that they survived because we acted. The rewards are in their convictions and their advancement because we acted.
I thank my father today, Alfred Elihue Mitchell, Snr. (1945-2011), for showing me the strength of a man. Because of that image, and because of his presence in my life, I could dream bigger, dare greater, and pursue longer. Some of the lessons that I learned from him are coming to you soon in Dear Little Brother, … Other lessons from the works of University of the West Indies lecturers, like Clement Branche, Barry Chevannes, Herbert Gayle, and Chukwudum Uche; and, my advisors from Rutgers – The State University of New Jersey, such as Professors Maurice Elias, Mel Gary, Dan Ogilvie, Lee Jussim, Stephen Barnhart, Eric Labouvie, and Cary Cherniss, are also included.
Until then, be a great leader and do not lose what you have inherited. Buy a copy of Dear Little Sister, … on Lulu Press for every girl that you want to see bloom into a leader.