Friday, November 12, 2010


I have spent many thousands of words over these past two years criticizing, in what I hope has been most often a constructive way (even as I have been criticized, often chastised for criticizing at all) leaders of our system. But, as some of you have noted, while I may have done so as an aside, I haven't defined "leadership" from my perspective. As one who has been so fortunate to have had the chance to work with some of the greatest lay leaders in our communal life and history -- among them, Max Fisher, z'l, Shoshana Cardin, Marvin Lender, Corky Goodman, Richie Pearlstone, Morris Abram, Carole Solomon, Irwin Levy -- and rubbed shoulders with so very many, including so many of my "readers" -- I sense that leaders and leadership are self-defining, like the Supreme Court's definition of pornography, something elusive but you know it when you see it and experience it.

Let me try and define leadership for you from my perspective and experience. Any of you who wish to offer your own definitions, please offer your definition. First, to me, leadership is building an inclusive group of men and women who share the sense of vision and mission of the organization itself and are anxious to do important leadership work. If a hair tries to do all things herself, those who are totally capable of taking on and executing tasks will defer -- and the organization is the less for it.

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