Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Leadership: Vision, Philosophy, and Style

BOND: Think about this—what do you see as the difference between vision, philosophy and style? How do the three interact for you—vision, philosophy, style?

BERRY: Well, philosophy to my mind is the contextual framework within which you operate and there’s just certain things up with which you will not put or certain things you believe in and vision is looking at where you are and looking where people are who you care about and figuring out how do you get to the next level, how do you make— How do you solve something? How do you get something done? Being able to see what might work and what won’t work and leadership style is how you go about getting those things done and some people do it in a way that prods people. Other people do it by leading by example. Other people are—

I mean, it just depends on what your style is but you must have— Everybody’s got a particular leadership style, but if you don’t have vision, you know, as the Bible says, the people perish and if you don’t have a— If your contextual framework is awry, none of the other pieces will fall into place.

BOND: So these three things work in sort of a mutually reinforcing way for you?

BERRY: Right.

BOND: The style which is the way you do things.

BERRY: The style is risk taking. The style is not caring about consequences. The style is being willing to go the last mile. The style is being willing to be attacked or being willing to be vilified or as Minerva used to say to me, when you’re in the limelight, you make a good target. Remembering that. The leadership style is let us all go and do what we must do no matter what the outcome is, you know, though the heavens may fall, but not silly risk taking. The leadership style is also sitting down and thinking strategically about when is the best time to do something and how can you best win as opposed to losing.