Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Leadership: Development

BOND: Some people think movements throw leaders up, some people think leaders create movements, and some people think it's a combination of all these kinds of things. Now, what is it with you? Which of these? All of these?

JONES: You know, you won't believe this, but leader -- I don't see myself as a leader.

BOND: But you are a leader by virtue, both of your position and of your personality.

JONES: Thank you very much. I know -- but you don't start out trying to be a leader.

BOND: No -- "I'm going to be a leader."

JONES: You don't do that, you're going to be a leader, you step on up --

BOND: Some people do, some people do.

JONES: Do they succeed?

BOND: Sometimes they do. Yes, they do.

JONES: No, I start out -- my focus is to do a job, to solve a problem, I mean, to deal with issues. And Julian, I like to win. I like to win. I'm competitive, and so I want around me a wide range of people who think outside the box, who are the best lawyers that are out there and I -- and we've got some good ones, you know. And then reach out of the bar and talk to others, you know, in different disciplines and look at a particular problem I'm trying to address, and let's -- and I'm result oriented, you know. The theory is helpful, you know -- so get me the expert witnesses -- and what all of it is to get a remedy to get the problem identified, and to get a remedy. And so, I am result oriented, which I don't make an apology for.

BOND: No, no, you shouldn't.

JONES: I don't.

BOND: But you know some people are not result oriented, some people are not solutions oriented, some people are who knows what, but you are. And maybe it's hard to be introspective -- why are you? I mean, the job requires it, but why are you? You couldn't have been attracted to the job unless you have it.

JONES: Well, I think it's -- everyday I wake up, it's a challenge. I mean, it's a challenge. It is -- the job I have is a tough job. It is. And the only way that I can make it and do this job the way I think it should be done is I have got to be energized by adversity. I can't be -- it can't subdue me. It can't cause me to have self doubt, it can't cause me to go away in depression and despondency. It's there for me to fight. It's a challenge. And so that is the way I deal with it. You know, when you're head of an organization, also -- people with whom you're working, and working with everyday, they've got to know you believe in them and that you're in a common cause. You're in a common cause. We've got a mission to do here, and we don't necessarily have all we need to do it, you know, but we're going to give it our best shot and what we don't have, we're going to find. We're going to get it, 'cause we're here to do a job. There's no one that can do the job that we've been given to do. We have to do what we do, and we have to do it well. And I just, I don't know where the -- it comes from within, it just comes from within.

BOND: And from mother and father, circumstances surrounding, neighborhood growing up, and so on?

JONES: All of that. That's right.