In my last column, I asked a very good question: What is Black leadership? I asked a good question; therefore, I’ll provide good answers. As promised, part two follows, and the pleasure of reading will be all yours. All right — got my humor out of the way.
The Council on Black Minnesotans (CBM) will serve its people well by having the courage to hire a Black woman as its new executive director. While my focus is not on the CBM, but on answering the question as presented, it is my hope that any organization or person trying to define Black leadership is willing to slaughter the sacred cow of Black male leadership by looking at the qualities Black women bring to the ideology of leadership.
Too many Black men are caught up in the control elements based on nothing more than forced leadership in relations to board members and/or others needed to move the Black agenda. These Black male leaders, sadly, surround themselves with friends who support their positions.
To maintain his position, this type of leader gains support from his followers by assisting them to get grants or somehow guiding benefits their way from within the entity the Black male leader is associated with. The followers show up when their supporting leader is in trouble because if this type of leader is terminated, there goes the supporters’ benefits.
Here the Black community in aggregate does not gain; the benefit only goes to the selected followers and that Black male leader staying in his position. Sounds like a Black man in leadership you know?
When we have this kind of benefit-of-the-followers leadership (think of an agency you know), the mistakes, irregularities, misconduct and incompetence are ignored because of benefits received by board members, members of the community, and others, which is an equation for calamity. The circle of friends is being served, but not the Black community as a whole.
Most often, Black women in leadership do not have the sad proclivities as above-mentioned. The CBM and other agencies must get beyond the Black male good-old-boys crap and look to Black women as executive directors, maybe an outsider who can interpret and apply political machines with statewide logistics and having the personality to build relationships with adversaries to move the Black agenda.
The Black woman, because of her inside angels, has inner spiritual workings, allowing her to build relationships and get things done by compelling others into accepting that the exchange of ideas and outcomes benefit all involved, including the opposition. The Black woman, by the nature of God’s design, has the ability to engage others in such a critical way that people are motivated to do what is just and right.
The CBM and other Black agencies have failed because of refusing to slaughter the “sacred cow” of Black male-only leadership. Black women as leaders are experienced in various environments. Having such a background serves the agency well because of a more realistic approach in dealing with matters of importance to the Black community.
The Black woman as leader has an understanding of herself, knowing who she is, her purpose, matched with the reality that her position may be short-lived and not one on which to retire. The Black woman knows that she has a job to do, the time needed to get it done, and her undaunted power as a woman towards outcomes.
In most cases, she cannot be bought and is not afraid to face up to others should the challenge and/or issue make her unpopular. Most Black women leaders are not compromised by surrounding themselves with followers that are “yes” people because of benefits received in one way or another.
The CBM and other entities in search of leadership must change in leadership gender search also. If it’s been all male leaders and the job is not getting done, have courage and let it be known we want a strong, educated, charismatic, transforming Black woman capable of capitalizing on the strength of the followers, our adversaries, our political officials, that will augment the level of human decency towards getting things done.
CBM and other Black entities: If you have had male leadership for years only to be met with failure, I say to the board, “Slaughter the sacred cow of male pimping leadership. Hire a Black woman as executive director, as leader, as transformer.”
Come on, sisters. Surely you have to see this male thing going on? Sisters should demand a that a woman lead the CBM and/or other agencies dominated by male-selected leadership over and over again.
Lucky Rosenbloom welcomes reader responses to 612-661-0923, or email him at [email protected]