The Organizational Development Muse

Dr. Mark L. Vincent's Blog

A leader's lament

Posted by Mark L. Vincent on Jun 18, 2015 10:00:00 AM

 

My sword, discarded long ago, lies rusted on the land.
And now my shield is thrown away.

Warfare was in my past, or so I thought.
A defender, yes,  but never the aggressor.

My shield was a defense, not for me alone, but for those I love.
I strove to keep us safe.
 
My shield is battered, dented and hardened from endless battle,
Where I saved the day--repeatedly.
 
Engage, protect, be the bulwark against aggression!
Be the wall, so others might live.
 
I did not see. How could I know?
A weapon my shield became.
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Carnage is strewn about my feet from my shield's blunted edge.
It was flailed and flung with ever skillful hands.

Those harmed by my flailing are not just those who attacked.
Those at my back were struck.
 
They did not ask to live in my shadow.
My defense was not their request.
 
I charged in anyway.
Shoving and thrusting.
 
Did I save them?
Maybe.
 
Were they helpless?
I did not stop to know.
 
I was heroic defender and high wall against chaos,
The wise and benevolent wizard warrior.
 
I did not see their chafing, but I felt their ingratitude
For the unrequested gifts I gave.
 
So I held the shield more tightly and swung my aching arm
Against all aggression.
 
Beating harder on those under protection,
I took away the power of their own rescue--
 
If they even wanted a rescue,
Which I was too busy to ask.
 
I was too focused on wading in
To notice whether I was wanted.
 
So here I stand undefended, aching arm and winded lungs.
Grief-stricken.
 
Those I would protect have left for other fields,
Their lessons to learn.
 
So my shield gathers rust beside the sword,
And now my aching arm is free.

With one hand I shield my eyes from the sun.
With the other I embrace my enemy--and brother too.
    
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Topics: executive leadership, Convene, Mark L. Vincent, Design Group International, leadership clarity, Executive Development, executive communication, executive case studies, leader's lament

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