Does Outrage Have a Place in a Leader’s Toolbox?

Howard Spierer

As some men have taken offense to what I’ve written in the recent past, let me be clear:

What follows are my thoughts. I own them. They are not those of the Legacy Magazine editorial staff or the Mentor Discover Inspire organization as a whole. IF A MAN WISHES TO ENGAGE ME IN A CONSTRUCTIVE DIALOGUE you can e-mail me, and I’ll make myself available.

By “constructive dialogue” I mean one where we listen and probe our beliefs with questions rather than demonize each other. I have zero interest in being right but hunger to understand what motivates others. So calling someone deplorable, a racist or libertard is not going to open the door for me to get to the fear or wound behind the venom.

When someone leads with outrage I stop listening. In my experience outrage is never immediately personal. Rather, it is someone else goading you by pulling back the scab on some old wound or perceived affront. The speaker then goes into rant mode, and the actual issue gets obscured.

In MDI I believe most men are mature enough to not take things personally but to realize another man’s upset is usually just a cry for help. Being part of the majority is meaningless in the long term if those in the minority are passionate and committed enough to throw caution to the wind.

So let me be clear about who I am:

  1. I harbor prejudice and truly believe that anyone who says they’re colorblind is full of shit.
  2. I believe I am self-aware enough to know when prejudice might be coloring my actions, and I give myself some space before I act or speak.
  3. I believe free speech is just that. I have the right to say anything as long as I am prepared to accept the consequences.
  4. I don’t understand the notion of “safe spaces.” Sure words can hurt your feelings, but I’ve never seen them draw blood or leave a mark.

Besides, isn’t it better to know when you are in the midst of judgment that might impede your eventual success than to trudge along blindly in blissful ignorance?

Participation awards are a disservice to society. Sure “just” showing up is important, but merely congratulating someone for doing a job without giving them a chance to examine where they may have been able to do better is a recipe for long-term disaster.

So I invite you to make me a better commentator by revealing my blind spots. After all, I can’t address what I can’t see.

Just leave the labels and the outrage behind.


Howard Spierer is a leader, guide and philosopher committed to learning and sharing the simple truths which are dictated by the definitions and burdens of manhood. His thoughts can be read on his blog ‘Man Up,’ and his column ‘Lessons in Leadership’ for the Legacy Magazine. 


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