We often think of leadership as combining qualities such as vision, charisma, decisiveness, and direction. When applied toward good ends, these attributes can positively benefit individuals and groups alike.
In addition, educator Parker J. Palmer looks at leadership in a slightly different way in his neat little book, Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation (1999) (p.78):
A leader is someone with the power to project either shadow or light onto some part of the world and onto the lives of the people who dwell there. A leader shapes the ethos in which others must live, an ethos as light-filled as heaven or as shadowy as hell. A good leader is intensely aware of the interplay of inner shadow and light, lest the act of leadership do more harm than good.
The passage implicitly understands that good leadership is a product of both reflection and action, and is grounded in a moral core. In this season of renewal that includes significant observances for many faith traditions, this is an especially resonant message. We live amidst many leaders, but we need more good ones.
Palmer also is the author of The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life (10th ann. ed., 2007). I highly recommend it for educators in all learning settings.
Book photo: Amazon.com