Mapping Effective Covid-19 Engagement: Four Responses to the Challenge
As is the case with many contemporary leaders in the Western World, Alexander offered a vision that was quite biased and xenophobic: “we are the best and will bring all other people, even if by force, to our state of advancement.” Visions are not always beneficial to the world—this is part of the irony of vision. We can easily move beyond Alexander to find a horrific example of vision gone made. Hitler offers a prime example of a visionary leader who was articulate and compelling in offering his people a vision of genocide and world dominance. As we face the challenges inherent in the current pandemic crisis, we must be vigilant regarding the emergence of a similar vision that is inhumane and divisive.
While formal Golden Yellow leadership that builds on wisdom usually comes with a prestigious education, and courageous Ruby Red leaders receive training that prepares them to fight against the enemy, the visionary Azure Blue leader is someone who may not have much of an education or much training. Rather, this leader is in the right place at the right time to offer a vision of the future. In fact, the visionary leader often comes to leadership with minimal preparation. Their compelling vision often comes with a story of personal triumph over adversity and discrimination. Such a vision is certainly available in our virus-ravaged world. Perhaps we will find that a compelling image is offered by a healthcare worker who has sacrificed on behalf of their patients or by a scientist or political leader who offers the “inconvenient truth” on behalf of a greater long-term good for our global society.
Visionary leaders like Abraham Lincoln often were born in poverty and were self-taught. We can also point to visionary leaders such as Susan B. Anthony (and other Seneca Falls advocates for women’s rights) and Martin Luther King (and other civil rights leaders of the 1960s). They grew up in a world that discriminated against them (or at least against other people “of their kind”). Visionary leaders such as Frederick Douglass have offered even more compelling story of being born into slavery and escaping to freedom. A saintly figure such as Mother Teresa offers a narrative of coming from poverty so that she might return to those who are poor, for “blessed are the poor.”