We are all equal
Re-phrasing the quote from Animal Farm: All animals are equal, and there are none that are “more equal” than others.
Watching the tragedy unfolding in the United States — a country which for many years was my first home away from home, I have a heavy heart. As an executive, I have spent much of my career coaching leaders, students and other professionals how to be people leaders who get things done. Observing the chaos, I am at once disturbed by the appalling lack of leadership in many areas, but also heartened to see true leaders act (or resurface) with empathy, emotional intelligence and compassion as their guiding focus. An effective leader of people must practice this single-most important virtue — humility. A servant leader is one who is always successful in bringing out the best in people, enabling them to bring their best selves to their work. Being brash, domineering, threatening or power-hungry are in fact signs of insecurity in a leader.
Blatant racism is hurtful, humiliating and demeaning. It makes one feel violated without physical violence being involved. One word is all it takes to crush you. I cannot even imagine what it must be like to be physically beaten just because you are “different”. Different from what? Every single human being is different from the other, even if they belong to the same “group”. What makes one colour better than another? What gives anyone the right to consider themselves superior to the other?
Until recently, discrimination and racism were not to be displayed. There was an “unspoken agreement” on how every person should be treated. However, in recent times, a vile strain of evil has emerged that has encouraged and drawn out those deep-rooted and tucked-away sentiments and allowed them to spill over into society. That is definitely NOT leadership. It is a false sense of superiority that weak, insecure minds admire and emulate. Those who follow and praise such false leaders are under the mistaken impression that greatness at any extent leads to success.
Violence and looting is bad and should not be condoned. There are many ill-intentioned people who are using the opportunity to steal and destroy, which is unacceptable. However, the root of the issue is the continuing, deliberate mistreatment of human beings in this world. That is something we should change, and we can only do it together. People of colour should not have to feel as though they were born guilty, don’t belong, don’t deserve better opportunities, or fear for their lives each day.
This is not a fair world. But those of us who are leaders or aspiring leaders can step up and try our best to create an environment where fairness and equality can exist, by modelling our own behaviour, by sharing love and kindness, by speaking out against intolerance.
By truly leading.
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