Andy Blumenthal
Leadership With Heart

Dancing on the Head of a Pin

We’re all different, and we all have something to say and contribute to solve life’s challenges. While some of us may think that they are better than others, the reality is that we are all human, fallible, and subject to life’s circumstance and G-d’s mighty hand. However, too often, we let ego get in the way, and instead of taking on the huge, almost insurmountable challenges that we face, we end up fighting about who’s in charge and who gets the credit.

At synagogue today, the new president said something apropos, and I’ll paraphrase:

If you straighten out your hand, all your fingers are different shapes and sizes, and some could think that they are better than others: the longest finger, the pointer, the ring finger, the opposable thumb etc. However, this is not the reality, because when we bend the tops of our fingers over then all the fingers are the same size and contribute equally to making a fist or being able to hold or grab something. In other words, being president of the Shul, CEO of a corporation, or leader of a nation or any other position doesn’t make you better or more important than anyone else.

In our own times, we are facing massive world challenges. To be specific:

  • Russia massing 175,000 troops on the border of Ukraine and threatening NATO;
  • China vying for the opportunity to take Taiwan and control the South China Sea;
  • Iran continuing to spin their nuclear centrifuges ever faster towards a bomb that can be used against Israel and the West;
  • 75% of the world living in countries where freedom and human rights are under siege;
  • A U.S. economy becoming drastically weaker with the national debt at a record of almost $30 trillion and inflation hitting 6.8%, a 39-year high;
  • Covid still rearing its ugly head with the delta mutation and now Omicron, and more to come.

These are astronomically complex challenges, each in their own right, all the more so together. Further, just as there are world problems, there are personal challenges in each of our own lives. And in light of all this, it is always interesting to me how some “leaders” put their egos and legacies ahead of actually uniting the people and leveraging the resources to actually solve the problems!

Therefore, as we face the daunting challenges confronting America, Israel, and the world, we need effective “servant-leaders,” who are guided by a genuine moral compass and faith in G-d to take well-reasoned actions and not to punt the problems down the political road. Real leadership means leaving your ego at the door; it means self-sacrifice, compassion, creative thinking, and bold problem-solving. Big challenges can be dealt with, but we’ve got to have the right measure of ourselves, strength of character, and unity of purpose to finally overcome them.

About the Author
Andy Blumenthal is a dynamic, award-winning leader who writes frequently about Jewish life, culture, and security. All opinions are his own.
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