Quiet Voices of Leadership

Leadership, distilled to its essence, is the ability to influence others.

Type “leadership” into a search engine, and it’s clear we most often associate leadership with business. However, not all leadership occurs in the boardroom. We have and need leadership in politics, of course, as well as in science, in our communities, in sports, in volunteer organizations, in schools, and in communities of faith.

Boardroom demographics are overwhelmingly white, straight, Christian, and male; the language, methods, and metrics of business leadership reflect those demographics. Many of those who lead outside the business community achieve success influencing others using methods different from what is best known in business. These leaders may lack access to education, resources, or channels of communication available to people in business demographics. The methods of those outside the business community may sound different or look different, and are valued less – or not valued at all – by traditional leadership experts.

I have decided to devote an occasional blog post to “quiet voices” in leadership. I want to highlight contributions from people who are (or were) influential in their respective communities who may have been denied access to education or employment, prevented from speaking or publishing, or who have found a way to lead others that looks different from what is expected. I intend to highlight leadership by those whose voices are unlikely heard through a boardroom filter.

The first post will feature the notoriously quiet voice, Marshawn Lynch of the Seattle Seahawks. Stay tuned!

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