As pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong intensify, and crowds noticeably thin, strong leadership is paramount. Although some credit longtime political agitators Benny Tai Yiu-ting, Chan Kin-man, and Chu Yiu-ming for providing the necessary spark to initiate the protests, their younger tech and social media-savvy counterparts from the Hong Kong Federation of Students, Joshua Wong Chi-fung (17) and Alex Chow Yong-kang (24), have emerged as the true leaders of the movement.
Demonstrating the wisdom and tenacity of a man twice his years, 17-year-old Wong recently told CNN: ”You have to see every battle as possibly the final battle. Only then will you have the determination to fight.”
If Beijing puppet and Hong Kong chief executive Leung Chun-ying is to be removed, the young leaders must step up to the plate day after day, night after night. Who better to learn about being a strong leader and inspiring action from than recently retired Yankees legend Derek Jeter?
Here are 4 lessons that Wong and Chow can learn from the 13-year Yankees Captain:
1. Lead By Example
As a leader, you are the standard. Your troops, literally or figuratively, rise and fall with you. Fatigue and hopelessness will inevitably creep in, but as the team captains of the protest, Wong and Chow must remain stoic and battle through it.
2. Embrace Criticism
If you’re not being criticized, you haven’t yet achieved greatness. Just days after playing his final game in a Yankees uniform, news outlets, even those in his own city, began questioning Jeter’s leadership throughout the years. This just goes to show that some people will do anything for attention, and that criticism is too often the gateway to coveted clicks and shares. China is a relatively large country and the protestors will experience the pains of criticism. They’ll be treated as nothing more than troublemakers by the government-run media. Eat it up or ignore it. Do you see Jeter crying about his critics’ attacks?
3. Keep the Big Picture in Mind
Meaningful protests and baseball seasons are suspiciously similar. Be in it for the long haul. Pick and choose your battles. As tempting as it may be for Wong and Chow to be on the front lines at all hours, they must not get burned out. Even in the final series of his career versus Boston, Jeter sat out the first game. Great leaders recognize when they’re physically and emotionally drained and have the humility to adjust accordingly.
4. Go Out With a Bang
Talk about a Hollywood ending to Jeter’s career. When the going gets tough, true leaders rise to the occasion. Wong and Chow must embody the same character, the desire to win. Two parts of these protests will be remembered: how they began and how they ended.
No one from the Hong Kong Federation of Students, the organization leading the protests, immediately responded to a request for comment from Editorial IV on Friday morning. We’re also awaiting comments from Derek Jeter, whose representative ensured us that the request would be presented to him as soon as possible.