Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Vision, Philosophy, and Style

BOND: Let me ask you about your leadership philosophy and, again, using leader in the same sense that you've agreed to discuss it, not necessarily the head of an organization. What do you see as the difference between vision, philosophy and style? How, if at all, do these interact for you -- vision, philosophy and style?

RASPBERRY: Vision may be the thing that drives the rest of it. I think it's not likely that you do anything that could be called leadership if you don't see some outcome down the road and whether the outcome is just getting a traffic light installed or if it's transforming a community. The vision is what makes it all start to happen. The vision may not be the thing you talk about except in small pieces.


The philosophy may not be talked about at all because an internalized philosophy starts to seem such a bedrock, ordinary thing that it's almost like talking about the weather. If you really embrace the philosophy which is to say, a view of the world, your view of the world guides what you do and how you think and the visions you have, but you seldom state the philosophies to anybody. But the combination of the underlying philosophy and the specific vision combine to make you think it would be a good thing if more of us, if a lot of us, moved from where we are to where I see down the road. And that introduces, then, the question of style.


Style is incredibly individual, and the smart people who aspire to any kind of leadership do a sort of inventory of what there is about them, what they've got in their personality arsenal that will help them move people from here to there. For some, it's humor. For some, it's anger. For some, it's, you know -- it's what you've got. It's whatever you've got. And people who are successful at the leadership game, I think, learn to figure out what works for them in various situations.