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Reflections | Dr. Leighton Ford (Mentoring)

Leaders of Light and Dark

August 27, 2018

The light side and the dark side are both there, and over the years these have been at constant war with one another. I have seen the light side far more in evidence than I have the dark, and everyone I know who has worked closely with him agrees: while both are part of the “real” Nixon, the light side is by far the larger part, more central, the one that he himself identifies with.

I read this take on Richard Nixon by one of his key speechwriters, Ray Price in the epilogue of Evan Thomas’ BEING NIXON, A Man Divided.

Reminds me of one of the most unusual definitions of a leader that I came across years ago, from Parker Palmer:<
“A leader is a person who has an unusual degree of power to project on other people his or her shadow, or his or her light.”

I have often shared that with younger leaders, reminding them (and myself) every leader, including Biblical characters like David, and except for our Lord,  projects both darkness and light.

A brilliant young Asian leader I admire wrote a paper on leadership for a doctoral course with the late Peter Drucker.   Drucker returned it with a handwritten note: “You know a lot about leadership. But not much about yourself.”
How crucial self-awareness is for leaders. And how painful to allow the light of God’s Spirit to reflect light and also reveal dark places in our lives, that the Light of the World may clearly shine through our lives.

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