I begin The Citizen Leader with an appeal to your curiosity and candor as I ask you to take stock of the qualities you possess as a citizen and as a leader. I also ask you to be forthright about the qualities you hope to strengthen as you set out on this exploration of character and active citizenship. Chapter 1 is an exercise in self-awareness. It is your point of departure and sets the tone for the caliber of reflection, inquiry and honesty that will serve you well and enrich your experience as you journey through the rest of the book.
It is my core belief that we are all co-creators of the world in which we live. Our families, schools, places of work, places of worship, neighborhoods and towns — all these are the communities that make up our world. Through our daily behaviors, words, actions and choices, we contribute to the character of these communities, and we shape the world in which we live and work, for ourselves, our families, our friends, our colleagues, our coworkers and our fellow citizens. The prerequisite, as you take on any role of leadership in any one of these communities, is your having a strong sense of who you are, first. The foundation for your building strong bonds with and leading others begins with your building a strong bond with and leading yourself. That is the essence of this book and its focus. The Citizen Leader is devoted to diving down to the deep truths about yourself that respond to this challenge:
Who are you, that you or anyone else would want to follow?