An Interview with Afa Dworkin
Daniel Bernard Roumain

Hey everybody — I’ll start off this response with the prompt to define myself.

In nouns: creative, student, dancer, designer, big picture thinker, wife, leader, child, and budding entrepreneur.

In adjectives: driven, talkative, introspective, optimistic, honest, creative, open, blunt, enthusiastic, expressive. (I find most of these to be double-edged swords.)

I want to focus on Denhardt & Denhardt Ch. 1 because I found it both fascinating and incredibly relevant to me. Reading the following quote from p. 10 was an “a-ha” moment for me where I feel like I put the pieces together between the reading and my personal experience:

“ ‘In art there is only one thing that counts: the thing you can’t explain.’ One might also say that the only thing that really counts in leadership is that which you can’t explain.”

For me, this describes what I call “it”. The reason I call it “it” is because, as Denhardt puts it, you can’t explain it. I’ve discussed this idea before with my partner, David, but this was the first time I’ve read something that perfectly described it and resonated with my experience. We say that someone “gets it”, or “is with it”, or “has ‘it’”. “It” seems to be exactly what Denhardt discusses at various points such as on p. 7: “Most people would be hard pressed to define good leadership, but they know it when it’s there and they miss it when it’s not,” or on p. 14: “There is something about the reality of the leader’s tone, the leader’s speaking, the gesture, the inflection, or another of a million subtle cues that “connects” with others and compels them to follow.”

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