Conversations fill the air and air waves with stories about the top leadership of the Commonwealth of Virginia. The responses, opinions and feelings of our region’s community leaders are as diverse as Leadership Metro Richmond’s network. As an organization that supports the development of community leaders, we will not attempt to tell you what to think or how to respond to the current news surrounding our state’s leadership. Instead we want to provide you with a few thoughts on how you, as a leader, can serve by modeling the way going forward.
At Leadership Metro Richmond, our development of community leaders is based on the principles of servant leadership. Leaders that serve focus on the needs of others first. Leaders that serve listen first. Your opinions and feelings may not align with those around you, yet as a leader, we must tap into that and seek understanding. Emotions are high and listening ears alongside open hearts are imperative.
Leaders that serve always empathize. We are simply asking you to consider what those involved are going through at this time. Empathy does not eliminate accountability, but it allows us to project our own consciousness into another person. It provides us with clearer focus on what matters most.
In these challenging times we must build and rebuild trust among our community leadership. Trust comes through communication. Consider the servant leader examples we will set by the way we talk, act, decide and interact with one another[i] in the days to come. As we continue to construct our opinions and responses, let us listen to various perspectives with ears of empathy. The world is watching and the way in which we move forward matters.
Myra Goodman Smith
President & CEO, Leadership Metro Richmond
LMR Class of 2006
Director of Communications and Programs, Leadership Metro Richmond
LMR Class of 2019
[i] Civic Engagement and Economic Development, The ECDI Blog, Joseph Sumner, Ph.D.