The people's voice of reason

Tears & Laughter: Real leaders know when to move the boat

I don’t see myself finding the time to watch either, but I have heard reports about the Barbie movie and also the latest version of Snow White and what both have in common – other than being fairytales – is that apparently they are about promoting leadership.

Is that not hilarious? They must be doubling as comedies too.

Barbie is into leadership these days and Ken was just an accessory from the start. Snow White will no longer be being kissed by a prince. There will be no more of that nonsense. She doesn’t want a good man to come along and partner with her to make life better – she wants to be a leader – though she know little about either.

Leadership is a popular word right now, but examples of real leadership have never been harder to find it seems. As popular as it is, you would think we would see more of it. And who knows, maybe through these cinematic models – featuring toys – there will be budding examples of leadership all over the nation.

That might be a positive societal shift…having more genuine leaders and fewer meaningless influencers. Because there are certainly differences between those two aren’t there? Just as there is a difference between leadership and showmanship. A person who can showboat may pull attention, but that doesn’t mean they have the skills required to be a leader.

Real leaders, are more than an online personality. Leadership is more than one quality. It is a blend of qualities that form a distinction between great people and average people. Qualities that are never compromised. Strong leadership involves a fearlessness of sorts – a fearlessness perfectly counterbalanced by self-discipline, love of others, and the type of humility that comes from believing in God.

Love for our fellow man is a type of respect. Respect for the dignity of others. Having sensitivity. Real leaders exercise this type of humanitarian love. It is character in action.

I am not talking about leaders who are CEO’s. I am not talking about politicians or people of position. They too should have leadership ability, but the leaders I am talking about are those among us who keep their head during emergencies. The people who have the ability to handle difficult problems and intricate situations with wisdom, clarity, fairness, and courage. Because leaders do not exist in the abstract. Leaders exist in specific situations. Sometimes simple situations.

At some point in our lives, we are all offered the opportunity to lead. Mothers lead every day.

When there are facts and evidence that show the leader is correct, they have to be steadfast and strong in their belief. Unwavering.

But constructive leaders, will also make it a habit to also reflect on their own character and personal integrity. And if the facts show they made a poor decision, or had an improper reaction, or chose the wrong words or way to act then they must admit they were wrong. A strong leader, knows how to issue meaningful apologies. A sincere apology can hold an almost miraculous healing power. It can lift burdens and reverse hearts aimed toward hate. It can unite the splintered. It can fix the broken. It can soothe like a balm.

People are not plastic like Barbie and life is no fairytale. Never before have we needed more true leaders, but we need real ones, not toys just seeking attention and playing pretend.

Amanda Walker is a columnist and contributor with, The Birmingham News, Selma Times Journal, Thomasville Times, West Alabama Watchman, and Alabama Gazette. Contact her at or at


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