By Tod Bolsinger
“No one would live in Boston without owning a winter coat. But countless people think that they can exercise leadership without partners…” -Ronald Heifetz
“I’m going to need new clothes,” my daughter warns me.
“It’s just a weekend trip,” I remind her.
“I mean, if I go to college there. If I do, then I’ll need a whole new winter wardrobe,” she says trying to demonstrate how reasonable she is being.
I have to concede her point. My eighteen-year-old soon-to-be college freshman is looking at two different schools that are in very different climates than the southern California beach city that she grew up in.
One in the Pacific Northwest, one in the upper Northeast. Both mean winters with lots of snow. Her stylish t-shirts and hoodie sweatshirts aren’t going to cut it, I know, and she is already planning the shopping spree. It is a reasonable, even necessary reality. She is going to need a winter coat, at least. And even tightwad Dad knows that.
But my daughter is also looking only at universities that support women in Christian leadership. And somewhere amidst the discussion of coats is a more important one about collaboration and the time of leadership needed in these harsher conditions of a rapidly changing, post-Christendom world.
Boston Public Garden Snowfall, by Bill Ilott. Flickr Commons.
Harvard Leadership guru Ronald Heifetz compares a winter coat with the need for partners in trying to survive the “harsh elements” of leadership. For Heifetz, leading alone is as foolish as my daughter trying to make it through a Boston winter wearing beach apparel.
But we do it all the time, don’t we?