For close to 3 weeks I pretty much put business on hold as I went to work trying to get all of my websites and blogs not only mobile friendly but drive up their mobile speed, which was atrocious. The traffic for all of my sites had dropped drastically, and all of them started dropping around the same day that Google had mentioned that they were going to take mobile friendliness into consideration when ranking sites. They didn’t mention speed, but since all my sites were already mobile friendly, per Google no less, I figured it had to be the speed.

TTM001
Not bad eh?

Truthfully, this wasn’t back breaking work. Yet it was still a heck of a lot of work. Because I used to have as an offshoot of my general corporation a SEO business, where I also created websites, I knew a lot about coding but, frankly, I had to relearn some of it to do some of the work that needed to be done, as I had a lot of things to correct.

Along the way, I figured out there were some leadership concepts that popped up, enough so that I can tie in what I was doing to highlight some of them. I’d like to share those lessons with you as I talk about some of what I was doing that I didn’t mention in either the above post or the post that article links to.

1. Always keep up on all aspects of your business, even if you don’t do things the same anymore.

I ended my SEO business in 2014 but I’d kept up with a lot of basic HTML processes, which is the first bit of programming I learned back in 2003. What came up is that I basically had to recode my two business websites (luckily not any of my blogs), which meant I had to go back into principles of what’s known as CSS (cascading stylesheets).

Although I had kept up with minor changes here and there, I’d forgotten how to do an entire website with CSS. There were also a few other things I’d never done with it that I now had to do. This meant a bit of a learning curve in having to relearn things that used to come easily to me. Outside of the constant testing, this was one of the biggest challenges I had to deal with.

A problem many leaders have is that they end up repeating history because they don’t remember it. When I was an every day director, even when we changed things up I always made sure I kept up with particular “physical” processes and that came in handy quite a few times down the road. What you find out is that technology might change but people and processes don’t. Think about customer service representatives as a good example of what I’m talking about.

2. Things never happen the same way twice.

That’s a line from The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (I’m such a big kid) that’s very true. The strangest thing about working with the blogs is that, even though they were all created using the same basic software, and three of the blogs actually use the same theme, what worked for one blog didn’t necessarily mean it would work for all the others.

Happy Mitch
Happy Mitch!

The same thing also happened for my regular websites. I got all the main pages totally optimized the way I wanted and most of the other pages as well but every once in a while there was a page that wouldn’t conform to the norm. The thing is, Once you have a template set, there’s a lot of copying and pasting that helps to standardize everything so you should keep getting the same results. But I haven’t achieved 100% success, and that was driving me up the wall.

When it comes to employees, you’ll usually find that not every one of them will learn everything the same way that previous employees learned it. Some will learn faster, some slower, some in a totally different way. As a leader, if you really care about making sure an employee has a fair chance to be the employee you’re hoping they’ll be you have to be willing to modify training when necessary.

3. You have to know when to give something up.

I mentioned that all the work took 3 weeks. Truthfully, a lot of it was trying at first to reach perfection, and then deciding that getting everything into the “good” category should be my ultimate goal. For all my sites I got the mobile speed into the good category; for two of them, I couldn’t get the desktop up that high.

That irked me to no end, but what’s funny is that in the second post I wrote talking about my quest for speed (the one I linked to above was the third in the series) I said near the end of that post that I was good with what I’d already achieved. That turned out not to be true, because once I had a success with something else I felt compelled to go back to see if I could improve on what I’d previously done.

It wasn’t until Sunday night, around 9PM, when I finally told myself “ENOUGH!” Pretty much like that, since I’m the only one in the house right now. I knew I’d been obsessing on it for far too long, had achieved some miraculous numbers, and, as Dad used to say, it was “close enough for government work.”

I learned early on that not only could I not expect perfection from any employees who reported to me but that it also wasn’t fair to expect each of them to reach the kind of numbers I used to achieve when I did the same work they did. I also knew that you can only push people so much while on the course for numbers that just might be impossible to reach. Beating a dead horse never improves the condition of the horse and makes everyone else mad at you; nothing good gets done after that.

4. Delegation is a better use of management time.

Truth be told, all the while I was doing this work I kept wondering “isn’t there someone else who can do this for me?” The longer it took me, the more I lamented not knowing a single person who could do this work for me. Not that I didn’t try, but all I found were websites giving me a lot of tips (which I was thankful for) and not a single business marketing this particular service. I’m not bad at search after all these years so if I couldn’t find it, I’m not sure anyone else could either.

When you’re in a leadership position, sometimes there are things that you have to do because you’re in a certain position. What you’ll also find is that there’s a lot of work you end up doing that would be better handing off to someone else so you can concentrate on what it is you’re actually being paid for. This might mean you’ll have to train someone to do it the way you want it done but training is always better than always doing things on your own that don’t require you to do them.

I came up with more but I think I’ll stop there. Otherwise I’ll have to keep reliving the coding and testing I did and, frankly, my brain needs a bit of a rest. Isn’t it amazing the kind of things you can either learn or reinforce within yourself while doing other things?
 

Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2016 Mitch  Mitchell

No one likes criticism; let’s get that out of the way. What we want is constructive advice on how to get better or how to solve problems.

Depressed dog

When it comes to me, the only time I want advice is when I ask for it. Over the years I’ve had to learn “how” to ask for it. In other words, when I ask for advice I want something specific instead of global. As an example, I might ask someone to look at a sentence that seems awkward and ask for their opinion it rather than asking them their opinion on an entire article. In my opinion that makes sense.

Still, sometimes people do ask for criticism. Every once in a while they get what they want, and in that case life is good. Sometimes the criticism you get might not be what you want but it’s what you need. Other times… well, we’ve all been there.

What’s bad criticism? When there’s nothing positive offered or nothing helpful, it’s bad criticism. Sometimes people don’t know that the criticism they’re giving isn’t helpful, either because they just don’t know how to be helpful or you haven’t helped by telling them what you need. Here are 5 tips on how to get what you need.

This article will offer ways to ask people for advice and how to accept criticism, even when it’s bad criticism. Let me know your thoughts (yeah, I guess I’m asking for criticism) later on.

1. When you need help, make sure you ask the right people for it. One of the problems most of us end up with is that we’ll ask people who don’t have experience in what we need for help rather than asking someone who might really be able to help you. If your friend fixes cars every day for 10 hours, asking them for help with your blog is illogical, no matter how smart they are.

2. When you ask for advice, be specific in what you’re looking for. When I was writing my first book someone I knew asked if he could see a portion of it, so I sent him the first 50 pages. He wrote back asking me if I knew anything about writing and formatting a book. What he didn’t do was give any commentary on what I’d written, which is what I wanted him to critique. It was an early draft that I hadn’t even finished, so everything he said wasn’t helpful. Instead, I shut down and thought about giving up the idea of writing the thing… for about 2 hours. If I’d been weaker I would have just quit but I knew better; after all, what had he ever written?

3. If you start whining or complaining about something, you almost have to expect that the person you’re talking to is going to offer something, positive or not. Two problems most of us have is that we don’t qualify the person we’re talking to all the time first, and we don’t tell people what we really want before we open up. I forget to do these sometimes and I end up not enjoying the conversation later on. I’ve also been on the advising side, although much more rare because most of the time I don’t like giving advice unless I’m specifically asked for it. Sometimes it’s hard to recognize when someone needs help versus when someone wants to vent.

4. If someone starts offering criticism, even if you’re thinking about arguing with it, try to at least let the person finish their first thought, in case they might be right about something. Yeah, that’s hard to do, and yet sometimes the person might be spot on, and you just didn’t want to acknowledge it though you realize it is true.

5. If you feel you’re getting beaten up, you have the right to either tell the person you don’t want to hear anymore or leave. Sure, you might need the help, but if all you hear is negative stuff, with no idea if something positive is coming, you’re not going to respond well to it, no matter what’s coming afterwards.

You never know how people, including clients, will react to what you say to them. If it’s true about them, it’s probably true about yourself. The wrong words can stifle action; try to get what you need, when you need it.

I have no shame. 🙂 Today’s post is kind of a retread of a post I wrote back in 2013 titled Keys To Leadership Points Redux, which was kind of a follow up to an original post I wrote in 2010 titled Keys To Leadership.

Me&Dad03

The first post was about my seminar series, which is over there to the left. The second highlighted the points that I was supposed to do in the 3 seminars I planned (one of which had to be canceled because of the weather). This time around I’m not only going to highlight the 15 points but I’m going to say something about them also.

I figure that every 3 years I should return to the scene of the crime, and the crime in this case is that no one commented on the earlier posts and I didn’t have Google Analytics for the first post but I’m not sure the second post got that much love either. So I’m trying again; let’s see where this goes.

1. Position doesn’t make the leader, the leader makes him or herself

There’s managers and there’s leaders. The title matters more to managers than it does to leaders. More often than not true leaders lead and managers just get in the way. Everyone knows which is which; in a pinch, which one do you think most people will go to?

2. You need to make sure everyone’s on the same page if you wish to succeed

Not only do employees need direction, but they need training and they need to know what the ultimate goal is. If you decide to be a hands off type of leader, you’re going to have more chaos than success.

3. You are ultimately responsible for the performance of your team

All anyone needs to do is look at team sports. If your team doesn’t win, you won’t be in charge long. If your employees can’t help you succeed, it’s easier to get rid of you than all of them.

4. Show loyalty to those you’re responsible for

In my own set of morals, loyalty is at the top of the list. Loyalty goes both ways, but sometimes leaders have to prove that they’re going to be loyal to their employees to get loyalty back.

5. Give others the tools to succeed, and you’ll succeed also

Old equipment, lack of procedures, no real training… it doesn’t matter how much you know if you’re in a leadership position, if your employees don’t know as much as you or at least as much as they can about the work they do then you and your organization is going to fail.

6. Real leaders don’t wait for someone else to tell them to do what’s necessary

When you step into a leadership position, you’re expected to lead. If you don’t know how then you shouldn’t have taken the position. Real leaders don’t wait around hoping someone else tells them what to do. They need to be ready to act on their own with the best of intentions and knowledge possible.

Coke Yes Girl
National Museum of American History
Smithsonian Institution
via Compfight

7. Saying yes, saying no; when and when not to

Leaders can’t always say either yes or no. True leaders know how to evaluate situations and make the best decision possible based on those evaluations. Don’t treat employees like children.

8. A bad decision is better than no decision

There’s never a perfect time to do something, and waiting around for the perfect time or the perfect answer means that you’re waiting around for things to get worse. Fortune favors the bold; if you have good information to make the decision go for it. You can always fix it later.

9. Change for change’s sake isn’t good

Don’t upset the status quo because you’re bored or trying to trick people into a different behavior. The belief that if everyone’s mad at you that they’ll work better is fallacy. Having a good reason for a drastic change is easier for others to accept.

10. Learn to resolve conflict by any means necessary

Other than getting physical with others, this is essentially true. If you have to raise your voice to stop others from fighting or say something shocking to gain control of a situation, recognize that there’s never a chance to solve anything if conflicts persist.

11. Learn to master delegation

No one person can do everything within a big organization, and sometimes not even in a small one. If you’re in a position of leadership, you need to learn how to delegate work to others so you can do the job you were hired to do. Never use it as punishment but as a way to strengthen the team.

12. Stay in control of your emotions

No one does this 100%, but if you can master your emotions at least 95% of the time your employees will appreciate it. Truthfully, it’s better if you’re always mad than if you’re emotions are all over the place. At least your employees will get used to you and learn how to work with you (although if you’re angry all the time they won’t put up with it for long).

13. Allow people to grow, learn, & make mistakes

If you have a well trained staff, and you’ve given them all the tools they need to succeed, then you have to be ready to step aside and let them do the job you’ve hired them for. You’ll never be able to evaluate their talent until you do, and most studies show that employees want a chance to show what they can do.

14. People are going to leave; make sure it’s not for negative reasons

Employee actions aren’t always personal and they’re not always about you as the leader. Don’t be a baby and react badly to employees leaving, especially if they’re leaving for a better opportunity because you’ve shown them how to grow. If you’re driving employees away, you’ll know it because you’ll always be hiring; no one likes that.

15. Don’t be afraid to lead

Leadership can be scary, not only to new managers but sometimes to those who’ve been in leadership a long time. You took the position, took the money, so you might as well step up to the plate and lead. Who knows; you might be good at it and you might like it. If either of those occurs, your employees will like you and do anything for you. There’s few things more satisfying than that.
 

Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2016 Mitch  Mitchell

At the end of this week, Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees will essentially retire from actively playing baseball and take an off-the-field role with the team for the rest of the season. He’s been one of the top players in baseball for nearly 20 years, although I acknowledge that he did use steroids, even after it was deemed illegal to do so.

Alex Rodriguez
Creative Commons License Keith Allison via Compfight

His overall numbers are impressive, and as the highest player in baseball history, it certainly seems like he earned the money no matter which side of the fence you’re on. He would easily be a first ballot Hall of Famer if it weren’t for the steroids.

So, I was surprised when a couple of days ago one of my Twitter friends said this:

The “hot take” on #ARod : The most overpaid, overpromised, & underdelivered (even w/steroid use) baseball player of the modern era is done.

To which I replied:

Wow, really? I mean, 3 MVP’s (finished 2nd twice), 696 homers, 3,000 hits, 2nd in RBIs… and a World Series… nope…

His response after that:

No 1 except baseball writers care abt stats. We are still a results oriented society. & the only result that counts is a W.S. ring.

At that point I mentioned that he had won a World Series ring, but he countered that on the biggest stage of them all A Rod had pretty much tanked. Not being a Yankees fan (go Red Sox!), I had to check this out. What I found was a bit surprising.

It turns out that when it came to the biggest series of his career, he did tank more often than succeed. Even in the year when the Yankees won the World Series, where he was the guy who got them into it by going 14 of 32 (.438), he only hit .250 in the Series. The last 3 playoffs the Yankees were in, 2010 through 2012, twice having the opportunity to get to the World Series, he hit a collective .160; ouch!

Hard to argue against that. Yet, this guy was one of the premiere players of the 2000’s, enhanced or not, so it begs the question as to whether the fact that he couldn’t perform well when all the attention was on him and his team was counting on him demeans the rest of his career. In essence, is winning the only thing that counts for a player, or for all of us, in the end?

Me033_02

I used to think so. When I was younger winning was all I cared about. It didn’t matter what I did, as long as I didn’t cheat, I wanted to win at all costs. I did win, a lot. I did whatever it took, I played hard, and it consumed me.

How? I broke a kid’s collarbone by picking him up and slamming him to the ground, which actually turned out to be the cement sidewalk, recreating a play I’d seen on TV. I broke another kid’s 8 front teeth with an accidental elbow as he was trying to tackle me from behind and I was trying to get loose. I used to get violently mad if someone won a game off me playing tennis… a game, not the match.

I’d bowl people over on the basepaths if they were in a position of having to tag me out. I punched walls and kicked ball returns whenever I didn’t throw a strike at the bowling alley. I wanted to win no matter what.

I did have some moments of sanity, just so you don’t think I was heartless. I didn’t knock the 9-year old out of the way like my coach told me to when we both knew he didn’t know how to catch a baseball, but I’m not sure if it was my heart or my intellect in realizing that his father was a colonel and my dad was a master sergeant and that was something you just didn’t do in front of an officer (my coach was a staff sergeant; I wasn’t listening to him lol).

As I said, I won a lot. Yet I was never happy once I got home. I put a lot of pressure on myself and I doubt I had many friends at the time. I don’t think people would have cared that I won so often if I’d had a better temperament. I eventually overcame the win at all costs mentality and adopted the try to be your best lifestyle instead. Sometimes I still win, but it’s not really about winning all the time, nor at all costs.

It’s an especially important leadership lesson to learn when it comes to employees. I knew early into my leadership career that not everyone who worked for me would, or should, be a rock star. If every person working for you is trying to be the next leader, and you only have one spot available at any time, it means there’s going to be a lot of angry and upset people when you don’t choose them, and their either going to leave or their performance is going to start going down.

There’s a place for those steady, reliable employees who will always give you their best, but are content to do their job and then go home to their personal lives without worrying about promotions. The best people you have will stand out and give you a short list that you have to choose from and that’s always nice. Like in sports, the bulk of the people on the team needs to be at the top of their game, ready to give you the best they can so that the superstars can do their thing and help the department and organization keep pushing forward.

Winning is nice, but if that’s all anyone is judged on, no matter how much we laud those people who do win, then what’s the point of living, or even trying, if you know you’re never going to win.

I might be the wrong one to ask; let’s ask all those players on the other country’s basketball teams, men’s and women’s, who know they’re not going to beat the American teams why they’re even bothering to try. I think their responses would surprise you, and I’m sure I’d be pleased by their answers.

Now I understand; what about you?
 

Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2016 Mitch  Mitchell

Last night I was part of a get together of local bloggers. I’ve been to this type of thing before, but this was the first I’ve been to that I put together.

20160802_175722_resized

We hadn’t done this in a long time, as some of the original organizers have moved on to other things that take up most of their time. It had been over a year since we’d tried to meet and I figured it was long enough and decided to go ahead and take the reins to try to get it done.

It was a small and intimate gathering, yet everyone there had a lot of fun. Even people who ended up not being able to come thanked me for setting it up.

One of the things I often do is find leadership lessons in a lot of things that either I or others do. This event counts as one of those things. I’m not trying to pat myself on the back for doing this, but there were some lessons I thought about that works to talk about here.

1. Identify an issue and attack it.

The issue in this case was that we hadn’t had a meeting in over a year. I doubt I’m the only one who noticed it but I was the one who decided I wanted to put it together. The first thing I did was go to our Facebook group, mention how long it had been, and put out a general feeler to see if anyone else was interested. If I hadn’t gotten a positive response I’d have left it alone and this post would have been about something else entirely. 🙂

2. Realize you can’t accommodate everyone.

After I put the feeler out and saw that there seemed to be a significant response, the next thing I did was put out a few dates for us to potentially meet. The responses I got were what I was expecting; not everyone could commit to the same date for this or that reason.

I knew that there wouldn’t be a perfect date for everyone so I decided on the date and put it out there. Some people immediately knew they couldn’t come and indicated it; others had to say “maybe” because they weren’t sure. Still others immediately confirmed they were going to come on that date.

I’ve learned over the years that leaders never get 100% on anything they try to do. Although sometimes they might get 100% against them by making an unpopular decision, most of the time the best they can hope for is enough of a positive response to move forward without a lot of resistance. Once a decision is made, unless you know you’re way off the mark, stick with it.

3. Do your research and make sure your logic is sound.

The next thing I did was create an event on Facebook indicating the date, time and place. I tried to pick a place that was more centrally located than other places we’ve picked, had enough parking, was well lit and would have enough free space just in case we had a lot of people show up; people could even order food.

20160802_175708_resized

Luckily, in this case I knew the space would be perfect and that the restaurant would be open for the time I set for everything to begin. In the event planner I gave everyone my reasons for everything I did. I didn’t get a single pushback on the suggestions and I hope it was because I tried to be well reasoned.

Even when people might disagree with what you want to do, if your research and reasoning is sound they’ll usually go along with it. When you can, it helps if you can allow feedback on your decision, but as the person in charge you have to be ready to make the decision for the good of the many.

4. Lead by example.

I wanted to try to be the first one there. I was the first one inside, but one of my friends was actually already in the parking lot when I got there. Overall, I thought it would be in bad taste if the person who organized the event wasn’t there when people started to show up.

Once there, when new people came in I addressed all but one of them before anyone else, and the one person I didn’t get to first I got to as soon as I could. Even though this wasn’t my event I felt like I was the host, thus I felt an obligation to not only greet everyone but introduce people when I could. A couple of times that didn’t work because I didn’t know everyone in the room but I did the best I could.

I also made a point of trying to talk to everyone there for a significant part of the time. I didn’t get to do so with one or two people but these were people I already knew and knew well so I didn’t worry much about it, and I believe they noticed the role I was taking on. By the end of the evening it looked like everyone had a good time and I’d remembered everyone’s name. 🙂

I believe that in business the culture that’s established within a company starts at the top and trickles down. I also believe that a change in culture can work if someone is willing to take the lead to try to do so. The feeling I got was that everyone was having a really good time, and that’s what I was trying to establish. In business your goal may be something else, but you as the leader needs to be cognizant of the mood you establish because it’s the people working for you who will represent you and the company after the fact.

5. Saying “thank you” helps.

I made sure to thank every person who came to the event. At one point I had to leave to get a table because I ate dinner after the event but went back to the room to make sure I gave everyone who was still there a proper send off.

Not enough leaders thank employees for a job well done, thinking that employees should get satisfaction on their own. That’s a nice thought but reality says that everyone likes recognition for the work the do as well as wants a sense of community and accomplishment. How hard is it to say “thank you” to anyone who’s given their best, especially if it helped get things done?

As I said, we had a lot of fun, lessons were learned, and I can’t wait until we do it again. By the way, if you’ve made it all the way through this article… thank you! 😉
 

Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2016 Mitch  Mitchell

A few days ago Michael Jordan, one of the greatest basketball players of all time, came out with a statement saying that “he could no longer stay silent” with the turmoil going on between black people and the police. Saying that he knows the trauma of losing a family member violently, he donated $1 million to both the Institute for Community-Police Relations and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

Michael Jordan, il re del baket
Creative Commons License Basket Streaming via Compfight

Jordan had always taken a lot of heat by big named sports stars because he seemed more interested in making money and protecting his image than in using his power and authority to try to make changes by speaking out against injustice and other issues as it pertains to black people. As one of the biggest names in sports history, it’s thought that he could have made a bigger difference in the world.

I’ve always had a slightly different opinion on this topic. Whereas I would have loved to see Jordan take that particular step, I’ve never thought that anyone had to step out of their comfort zone to do anything that didn’t fit their personality or wasn’t part of their goals. Being black doesn’t necessarily mean someone has to step into the role of a black leader just because they suddenly have a certain amount of authority or popularity; it’s a nice thought but it’s not necessary for everyone to do.

Back in 2002, I had the opportunity to read an article in the local Syracuse newspaper about a diversity seminar that was taking place in the Rochester area. I took a chance and contacted the reporter on the story, who gave me some information on who I could contact to get more information on the event. She asked me if she could call me every once in a while to ask questions regarding events that occurred in the black neighborhoods of the Syracuse area, and I told her that I’d never lived in the city and didn’t think I was the appropriate person to talk about black neighborhoods and the experience of black people who lived there.

Of course I was pretty much a nobody at the time; still am to a degree. I’m certainly no Michael Jordan. 🙂

Turns out Michael Jordan isn’t the guy many people thought he was. He’s given money to politicians he felt could help the cause of black people. His team, the Charlotte Hornets, has the highest percentage of people of color working for the organization in leadership positions than any professional sports team in the country. He also came out publicly against the transgender bathroom bill in North Carolina, which has led to the 2017 NBA All Star being moved to a different city.

A couple of years ago I wrote a post titled If You Don’t Stand For Something… where I asked the question of whether people who didn’t stand for something were scared to do so because of other people’s perceptions or fear of consequences. I wanted to know what it would take for them to decide to say something about the perceived injustice, or whatever it was that upset them.

No one is compelled to act on anything that upsets them, especially if it’s a controversial subject, but one would hope that if it involves them that they would. If the only thing to stand up for is your own protection, then that may be the best you can do. Everyone’s not going to take a step forward like Carmelo Anthony, and that’s fine with me.

Still… I’m going to ask the same question I asked two years ago to see if I can get some folks to respond to this one question: is there anything that happens outside of your life that compels you to give a public opinion on? Once again, I don’t need to know what it is, just if you’d do it. How safe is that? 🙂
 

Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2016 Mitch  Mitchell

I’m not one of those people who really wants to track genealogy. I don’t want to learn too much about the history that led me to being here, mainly because I think there would be some things that would come up that would make me angry enough to want to confront someone who had nothing to do with the past… lol

Dad Me Uncle Morris 002

With that said, I have to own up to the fact that, obviously, I’m not “purebred black” in any sense of the word.

I’m not all that sure of my family history on my dad’s side of the family except that my grandfather was from Alabama and that somewhere along the line there was a mixing of Irish blood in the system. Based only on visuals there wasn’t any doubt in my mind that there was white blood in my history.

On my mom’s side… I do know that on her father’s side I’m a mix of black and members of the Blackfoot tribe from Canada and the Cherokee tribe of Oklahoma. I also know that on her mother’s side that my great grandmother was a mix of black and native American but I’m unsure which tribe that was, and is the only person I know for sure who was left on someone’s doorstep as a baby in a basket (seems that type of tale is true).

All of this truly makes me a person of color, but I identify more with being black than anything else based on my upbringing. Still, it makes me sensitive to the plight of all peoples of color, immigrants who aren’t necessarily people of color yet were treated as such (Italians were castigated in the early history of this country for having dark skin), people of different religions (even though I don’t personally have or believe in religion) and those who are different in other ways that I shouldn’t need to address.

With that said, it’s my hope that most of us will continue to speak out when we see something or hear something that’s negative against a group or person based not on who that person is but what they accept as their historical or current background. We can’t stay silent, but we should try not to be confrontational… although I’ll admit that part’s hard.

Why is it hard? Sometimes we’re pretty close to certain issues, and it’s hard to deny that, even looking at things from a leadership perspective, they seem to touch on the issue of race. Since I’m the guy who agreed with the statement that “it’s always about race“, and time and time again situations seem to prove it, I like to think that I can find either good or bad leaders and leadership processes that, even stimulated by seeming racial bias of some kind, lead us to a place where we can call out something and hopefully pull it back around to a lesson we can learn from.

I’m not sure, but let’s find out as I share this missive that I put on my Facebook page yesterday:

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke needs to resign. He’s the worst kind of leader, and for a city the size and complexity of Milwaukee, he’s not what they need to move forward.

Why is he the worst kind of leader? Because instead of owning up to his responsibilities, and instead of trying to address the issue to bring people together, the only thing he has to say about the troubles with the police department is “Hey, black people kill more black people than we do.”

Not only is that leadership failure, it’s dodging the issue. The police are hired and trained to be a higher authority than the every day, average American. They’re supposed to have a set of rules and code, not unlike our military.

Even during war, our soldiers have to follow a code of conduct that their leaders set and follow, and you never hear a general say “well, with the pressure of our fighting “whomever”, it’s okay for us to kill them in any way possible and whenever we want to because they’re trying to kill us, and if who we kill happens to be innocent, oh well…”

That’s what this guy is doing. That’s what he did on the night Philando Castile was murdered by the police. He showed no remorse for this man being killed; he showed no concern that his police might have done something wrong. Instead he went on CNN & said President Obama’s lying. That’s not what true leaders do.

I hate when I see major leadership failures like this. Sure, there are other problems, real problems in black communities. There are real problems all over the world. However, when you step into a position of responsibility and authority you’re supposed to be above all that. You’re supposed to be a leader… period!

Also, because I know some people aren’t going to see this message for what it’s supposed to be (that’s how some people are these days) without my adding these disclaimers, let me say that retaliation against the police or military by shooting them also has to stop. You folks are just making it worse, and it’s not the right thing to do. We have to stop killing each other and focus on the real issues in this world in another way.

Let’s stop the killing ON BOTH SIDES… just stop… now… please…

I felt that had to be said, and I hope it delivered more of a leadership lesson than a diversity lesson. We all know that everyone’s not a racist or bigot, even if something they say is insensitive. I think we all know when someone really is and when they’re actually not.

I’ll try to remember this myself. Who’s with me?
 

Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2016 Mitch  Mitchell