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Social Change

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ASPA as an organization.

By Carvis C. Durr
February 5, 2024

Throughout history, societies have faced public challenges. The United States is no exception. U.S. citizens must contend with various issues which have significant social implications. One of the most pressing problems is economic inequality, which contributes to poverty, discrimination and social unrest. The wealth gap in the United States has been growing for decades, with the top 1 percent of the population holding a disproportionate share of the country’s wealth. Another primary concern is the state of the education system, which needs help to supply equal opportunities for all children. Disadvantaged communities are disproportionately affected by this issue, as they often lack the resources and support needed to succeed academically. This has long-term implications for social mobility and economic prosperity, as those left behind by the education system are likely to struggle in the job market. Environmental changes are another significant source of concern for U.S. citizens. Climate change, pollution and natural disasters harm public health and the economy. We must mitigate the effects of climate change.

Given the scale and complexity of these challenges, social change is a crucial tool for addressing them. When individuals unite with a shared goal, they have the power to foster a balanced and righteous society. This collective effort can be manifested in numerous ways, including political engagement and grassroots initiatives. Still, its aim stays constant—to increase fairness and enhance our society’s ability to cater to every member’s diverse requirements. Focusing on the root causes of problems rather than just addressing their surface-level manifestations is necessary to bring about effective social change. To create sustainable and long-lasting solutions, we should not only focus on dealing with the symptoms of a problem but also try to understand the underlying factors that contribute to it. By doing so, we can address the root causes of the problem and prevent it from occurring again.

Collaboration is an integral part of social change. It is essential to recognize that social change agents are not outsiders who come in to fix things for others, but are fellow members of the community. Building relationships within the community is crucial to creating effective change. This means working together towards a common goal rather than imposing one’s perspective onto others. By collaborating, we can use the strengths and resources of different individuals and organizations to create a more comprehensive and practical approach to social change. It is also essential to recognize that those most affected by a problem should have a voice in decision-making. This means working with others, not against them, to ensure everyone’s perspectives are considered. By doing so, we can create solutions that are not only effective but also fair and inclusive. Social change requires a collaborative effort to address the root causes of problems. We can create fair, inclusive and sustainable solutions by building relationships within the community and working with others.

Cultivating Leadership

Cultivating effective leadership is a crucial part of bringing about social change. It’s essential to understand the social markers that influence how others perceive us if one wants to become a successful leader. In today’s social world, traits denoting status and leadership fall into powerful and attractive categories. Robust markers include titles, positions and authority, while captivating markers include charisma, communication skills and likability. A good leader must be able to mobilize people and resources to achieve a goal, and this requires a set of learned skills and attributes that can be developed over time. These skills include inspiring, challenging, encouraging, persuading, influencing, showing resilience and persistence. A leader must be able to balance both powerful and attractive qualities to be successful.

Leadership is needed in every aspect of society, whether in the workplace, community or government. A leader’s success depends on forming solid relationships with followers. Without followers, there can be no leaders. The best leaders often show followership by being willing to listen, learn and collaborate. A leader’s impact can be the difference between a team’s success or failure. It’s vital to have influential leaders who can inspire and direct their followers towards a larger goal. A successful leader must have a sharp vision and be able to communicate that vision to others. They must be able to inspire and motivate their followers to work together towards a common goal.

In conclusion, leadership is a multifaceted concept that requires various skills and attributes. Effective leadership involves:

  • Understanding social markers.
  • Balancing powerful and attractive qualities.
  • Forming strong relationships with followers.
  • Demonstrating followership.
  • A well-defined and unclouded vision is essential as it inspires and motivates others to work towards a larger goal.

Good leaders are essential to bring about social change and positively change society.

Author: Meet Carvis C. Durr, a Ph.D. student and Graduate Teaching Associate at the University of Central Florida’s School of Sociology and Statistics. Carvis holds a Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration and two Master’s degrees in Business Administration and Leadership/Human Resource Development. Carvis is a member of the Scholar Strategy Network. Follow Carvis on Twitter @Iamcarvis or check out his professional profile on LinkedIn.

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