I’m a bit of a leadership junkie. Ever since I was a kid I’ve enjoyed the stories adults tell children, and the conversations they have with each other, about leaders of people-past and present.
This fascination may be rooted in my family’s history in the military. Credit could be given to innumerable human struggles that have inspired me to believe in humanity’s awesome potential. Or I suppose it could be as simple as the comfort I derive from so many things in life just being taken care of. Whatever it is, I see leadership in many forms, in many places.
And still, it seems nowhere to be found.
I have expectations of leadership. I want it to be great but I’ll settle for good. I want to be inspired, awed, and humbled by leaders. Leaders who present grand visions of what is possible even when it may seem impossible.
I want to be challenged to believe there is more and I want to be motivated to work for it.
I want leaders that build not burn bridges.
And I want leaders that make leadership a noble pursuit not one to shy away from out of shame, stigma, apathy and fear.
At the same time, I reject the notion that I need to be led. Isn’t being led for people that don’t know where they want to go and so they follow? Don’t leaders just end up serving themselves and their own agendas while abdicating the responsibilities of leadership while letting the rest of us down?
I know this may just sound like a typically skeptical (and trite) perspective of an aging GenXer who believes in nothing and everything simultaneously.
But I’m telling you I’m through with all this wishy-washy want-this-want-that end-up-with-nothing attitude.
I have a role to play; we all have a role to play, in nurturing and supporting good, healthy, positive leadership from our own communities and beyond.
I want to feel trust and confidence in men and women who step forward to lead our communities. This isn’t going to happen until I stop thrusting responsibility for creating leaders onto others while I sit back smugly and criticize failures and take no joy in accomplishments.
So last weekend I put my money where my mouth is and went out to witness one small, yet significant, undertaking here to train, nurture and support a new generation of young gay men to take on roles of leadership in the gay community.
Totally Outright is a fabulous attempt to formalize ways for older, more experienced generations to share their skills, experience, and knowledge with new energy, passion and enthusiasm. It’s time to stop eating leaders and to start feeding them.