by Jeffrey Strully and Laura Broderick
Jeff & Laura work in Los Angeles at
Jay Nolan Community Services. They are also personal and professional
allies. We are pleased to have them in this issue of Inclusion
In our experience, people with labels want
ordinary lives in the community. They want the same day-to-day
things we all do: love, family, a job, a home, friends, money,
control, fun, a belief in something and someone, a chance to
contribute and ordinary experiences. Some people may need a little
more support than usual to achieve these goals.
The role of leadership in human service
and education is to stand with people during their journey. It
is our role to assist and support people as they define what
they want in life. It is our role to be human, to be real and
to listen, especially to people who don't talk with words. We
must get to know people, to stand in their shoes, to be honest
and loyal. Leaders must be truthful; see capacity, strength and
talent in everyone. They must constantly look for another way
of doing something when the answer isn't simple. Leadership is
learning to be a midwife.
Leaders work WITH , for and not
OVER people. Our story of learning about leadership together
allows us to tell stories about vision, heart and doing justice.
Nothing happens without leadership in any organization. Leadership
is thoughtful and committed people standing together to create
a more just and inclusive society.
Leaders in this field must have vision;
a vision which is crystal clear and undaunted by barriers. Leaders
embody their vision in every way; living and breathing their
message. Leaders are learners not knowers; willing to make mistakes
and own them, willing to take risks and chances. Leaders know
themselves well, their strengths and weaknesses. Leaders are
good listeners, have compassion, are genuine and honest. Leaders
have character (and often are characters). Leaders often have
a quality and a presence that attracts people to work with them.
Leaders have an open door always. Leaders have no fear because
they believe in themselves and their vision.