Historically, when have leaders been needed?
According to Ronald A Heifetz, in his book Leadership Without Easy Answers, “Leadership is oriented by the task of doing adaptive work.” That is to say, leaders are needed when traditional solutions to problems produce less than palatable results. Leaders inspire others to offer creative solutions to new challenges or to problems that continue despite attempts to solve them.
Where are leaders needed today?
Where I see change and challenge intersecting is in trends of K-12 and higher education for minorities, particularly among Hispanics, in the United States.
The Change: the percentage of Hispanic high school graduates is slowly (but steadily) rising, from approximately one in ten in 1998 to a projection of three in ten in the next decade (National Center for Education Statistics).
The Challenge: The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2015, an annual report published by ACT, found that only one in four Hispanic students were “college ready.” And for African American students it’s worse: only one in ten. According to a 2016 report from Learning Heroes, a national organization that empowers parents to take charge of their child’s education, 90 percent of Hispanic parents want their children to go to college–a higher percentage than any ethnic group measured–but only 42 percent of Hispanic students actually make it to college graduation. Although we see many Hispanics entering the competitive workforce, without associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degree, these individuals may lack the competitive edge (i.e. higher levels of education) that many businesses, companies, and the public desire..
Here is where leadership as adaptive work comes into the picture. Many Christian universities recognize the value (beyond monetary value) the Hispanic community contributes to American society. In part this is due how we are a value of loyalty to family, have a strong work ethic, respect for authority, and are religiously devout. These universities also recognize that the Hispanic community has the potential to significantly impact society with these values, and even more when they attain greater levels of education. Without a doubt, higher levels of academic achievement can open doors that can propel them into greater spheres of influence in the secular marketplace.