A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus, but a molder of consensus.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Leadership is indeed about taking action to shape a preferred future rather that looking around for someone, somewhere to uncover what might be someday. Martin Luther King Jr. was a genuine leader in that he shaped a vision for the future of American society that would recognize and celebrate the diversity and inclusion of all peoples no matter their race, color, or creed.
While we have not fully achieved that vision, we have made progress as a society beyond what Dr. King spoke of at the time “… we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics…”
The vision he laid out some 53 years ago, has become even more inclusive and diverse as our society has acknowledged our changing demographics and the contributions of folks that were previously forgotten or ignored. Today, the vision includes all men and women – black, white, brown, straight and gay, and people of non-Christian or Jewish faiths.
As we reflect on the upcoming Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday, our focus should be on how his shaping of a vision of a future American society has helped us move forward, and what our society would be like if he had been a searcher for consensus, rather than a molder of the future.
The question for all who are in leadership positions in education and beyond is are we searchers of consensus in our work, or are we molders and shapers of a vision for the future?If we are genuine leaders – we must be willing to take on the risks of taking action to mold and shape the future, and not sit on the sidelines searching for consensus.