William Wilberforce is a hero of mine. He is best known for leading the abolition of the slave trade in Britain. His work began in the 1780s and continued through the 1830s. He spent his life fighting slavery.
But Wilberforce didn’t do it alone. He surrounded himself with friends and colleagues who helped shape the abolitionist movement. Thousands of hours were spent with his close friends writing legislation, debating arguments, preparing speeches, writing letters, and making the case to both friend and foe.
Wilberforce invested in a community. He spent tremendous amounts of time with them. They’ve come to be known as the Clapham Sect. These people and their families were committed to helping and encouraging one another. They lived in the same area of London and often met in one another’s homes. Wilberforce would not have accomplished what he did without his friends. We would not have an admiration for Wilberforce were it not for his friends.
I’m starting a series about unity in leadership and I can’t think of a better example to begin with than Wilberforce and the Clapham Sect.
Organizations are powered by teams of people who working together can accomplish much. William Wilberforce didn’t abolish slavery by himself. He had a team of people around him working together. The unity of that team proved to be unstoppable, even against the entrenched economic and political interests of thousands of years of human history.
So successful leadership requires forging and preserving that unity. In the posts to come we’ll explore more aspects of unity and how you can unite your team to accomplish your purpose.
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