Thoughts on Effective Leadership From "Professor X" - Page 2 of 2

Thoughts on Effective Leadership From “Professor X”

fascinated by the likes of Vince Lombardi, Tom Landry, Bill Parcells, Bill Walsh, Bill Belichick, Tony Dungy, etc.–people who know how to build winning organizations of winning people.

I see everything in these terms. Anyone who knows me knows that I love superhero comic books. My favorites are the ones about teams of superheroes working together (Justice League, Avengers, X-Men, Blood Syndicate, etc.), not individual heroes like Superman or Spiderman. In fact, it dawned on me the other day that leading the staff of Black Enterprise magazine (an honor I enjoyed for 13 years) was like leading The Avengers: a team of polished, experienced, exceptionally talented professionals operating as part of a long-established and esteemed tradition of excellence. My new team at is more like the X-Men: a group of gifted individualists of prodigious potential who are often in conflict with one another, and must be taught how to use their abilities productively and operate as a team. My challenge is to help them see past their differences by getting them focused on a common ideal and vision. (I’ve already identified, in my mind, a Wolverine, a Jean Grey, and a Rogue on my team.) I’ve taken to thinking of Derek Dingle, who succeeded me as editor-in-chief of our magazine in July of 2008, as Captain America, and seeing myself as Professor X.

The point of all this is: I passionately believe that organizations can win without exceptional talent, but talent–even extraordinary talent–cannot win outside of a winning organization. It’s my job to build that organization, to take that talented group of individuals and create and maintain a winning–and yes, heroic–team, one that will consistently do special, amazing, important things. Black Enterprise–the very definition of a winning organization–has always afforded me the opportunity to do this over my two-decades-plus tenure at the company. And that’s exactly what I love.

Alfred Edmond Jr. is the editor-in-chief of