Matthew McConaughey’s ‘true leadership’ message is the truth all leaders need to hear

The only thing more shocking and horrifying than the Uvalde mass shooting is the fact that in the past 2 weeks since the incident there has been a cumulative total of 38 additional deaths linked to mass shootings.

America is in crisis. Over the past 15 years, as we’ve seen the number of shootings go up and up, there was hope: this time will be different, that’s where we max out – where we hit the top of the chart the current death toll.

But, here we are once again. Believing that shock and horror this time will surely lead to less killing of innocent lives next time.

Matthew McConaughey took to the White House podium in the press conference room to denounce the irrational wishful thinking of American leaders and the general public. McConaughey, a native of Uvalde and a gun owner himself, acknowledges that the problem, in his mind, is failing leadership.

People trust in leaders and in government institutions is eroding. Now is the time, according to McConaughey, for leaders to act and bring values-based leadership back to America and the world. No more political demagoguery. No more petty internal squabbles. We face a “life preservation problem,” McConaughey says, and human-centered leadership is the only way out.

Get angry and act now

Several times during the 20-minute speech, McConaughey gets visibly angry. At one point, while sharing the tragic story of nine-year-old Maite Rodriguez, he bangs the podium lectern with his fist, choking back tears.

Anger can be good. It is a functional emotional state that we have evolved as a social species. When used correctly, it propels and compels us to respond to moral violations by coordinating our behaviors and demanding change.

Right now, leaders need to harness the collective anger of the masses and get people to act. Leaders, you must use outrage wisely and responsibly by committing to making a difference.

Call on what connects us all

America is divided. But more than the real divide between political affiliations, it is the perceived partisan polarization that widens the imaginary gap between us. And his makes us sick physically and mentally.

Yet, as McConaughey points out, there is common ground, “the place where most of us Americans live, especially on this issue…I promise you, America, we are not not as divided as we are told.”

In complex societies and organizations, all sub-affiliations tend to evolve into a single “higher identity” – the thing that connects everyone. When highlighted, it helps to cultivate tolerance of differences between social groups and reduce prejudice.

McConaughey urges leaders to “grab higher ground above our political affiliations.” For him, like the majority of us in this case, we are bound by something greater than party allegiance: the desire to protect the lives of future generations.

Leaders, it’s time to start pounding the desk. Keep beating until something is done.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

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