There are many people who hold leadership roles in communities and organizations. Some are really good at what they do. Yet, anyone who has interacted in these circles will soon discover that there are two types of people involved in boards and commissions. The activist who is very engaged and puts everything into the endeavor and all too common the people who are in it for the title and the boost that gives to their resume.
When going back to what a Civil Citizen can do to make their community stronger, vibrant, and a wonderful place to live the answer is to become more involved with these community boards and organizations. It is important to give an honest self assessment to determine whether you hold the skills necessary to do a good job in the role.
If the answer at this time is “No”. Then the next question should be what type of training or education can you acquire to be the best person for the job? Sometimes this means looking into what the current leaders have done. More importantly, what skills are important, what knowledge base needed, in order to be able to make the best decisions for the particular topic or issue the board/organization was created to address.
There is nothing worse than the board member only there to pad their resume. They are often not in attendance for meetings and the “dirty work” yet always seem to be able to fit in the time to meet powerful and interesting guest or go to interesting events especially when media attention is assured. They are often right up front for these types of things.
There are people who enjoy the prestige and perceived respect and power that comes from positions of leadership yet they are often incapable or unwilling to take on the challenging task of leading. Providing positive vision, encouragement, goals and accountability to excellence of the endeavor. This is found time and time again. It becomes clear that the reason why society is in a world of hurt is because those who are supposed to be leaders are more interested in who takes credit or blame, in the internal and external politics than anyone is of genuinely tackling and solving a problem.
We’ve seen this time and time again. Power-struggles become the center of attention and those who need help are left wanting. There needs to be a new group of leaders that are genuine in their desire to address problems in a reality based way. That put the solving of problems before themselves or anything else. It sometimes calls to question whether this can be done in a political system in which fundraising and getting elected tends to get in the way of progress. Democracy is important each person should have a voice certainly. However, it seems that these voices, diverse and with different levels of understanding of the many moving parts that must be understood for effective governance must be filtered through leaders who have a basic education and understanding to make good choices about these often difficult and complex issues.
The current “Jerry Springer” society giving attention to those least enlightened, the least worldly, with the most narrow views and base of experience may be excellent for freak show television. Yet these are not the people that we should be listening to for advice about governance. The leaders who merely work to make this group happy, do the entire society a disservice. They should lead by example and then tell the Jerry Springer set why they did it. That is actual leadership.
Be aware of the leaders in your community. Call attention to those who are merely figureheads and not moving the community forward. Leadership people are charming, yet substance and reality based work with results and accountability for results is what we all really need today.