I don’t know about your understanding of leadership, but mine used to be quite narrow: Leadership is about leading other people in a (more or less) professional setting. Ok, maybe I lead my animals, too. But I never got to which degree it actually penetrates my whole life, all the way down to how I lead even myself every single day.
Of course it depends on the definition of leadership. Generally we tend to define it in a way that doesn’t necessarily include these opportunities. But – hasn’t that been part of the problem? Defining leadership as something exclusive that concerns only a few of us? Most of us handing over the power without many questions asked? Sitting at home hoping for things to turn for the better in at least some areas of our lives?
What if we had a more sober look at what leadership means? This is what I came up with:
Leadership means going first
Who actually said the leader is the one on top, sitting safely in a castle (kind of), ordering about others to do the dirty work for them?
Tell me, what calls you forward more: Someone who goes first – courageously, vulnerably – showing the others it’s possible to expand their world without suffering great harm. Or someone hiding out and letting others do the risky work?
If we have a look at the horse’s world, the answer is immediately clear. While an aggressive leader may bully a herd into following them for a while, it’s always the peaceful, poised types who end up with a big family.
Also – how many great things happened because someone got inspired? And from there, things grew, and new formerly impossible things suddenly got created.
Leadership means being clear & compassionate
Humans (anything with a brain, really) highly value clarity – to a degree where we actually prefer an aggressive, but clear type over someone kind who changes their mind more often than their underwear.
It’s a thin line to walk when you want to encompass both – and many, many people think it’s an either or. But just imagine someone has done the work to bring both: The crystal clear conversation AND the compassion to listen and understand what’s going on on the other side.
What if we knew we could have the tough conversations? What if we knew we were safe and held AND the really relevant stuff would be brought to the table? What became possible from here?
Leadership means to take a stand
We are not the most consistent kind. Rather, we are a bunch of strategies that proved themselves successful in the past, random decisions based on feelings and whatever bullshit we momentarily make up in our mind (and yes, this goes for the smartest amongst us, too! Sometimes especially them. I know what I’m talking about.)
If we want something to happen that’s not quite inside of what’s familiar and reliable, we need someone gently supporting us. Someone who reflects what they can see going on – without muddling it up with their own stuff. Someone we can rely on if we get caught up in our stuff, once again. Reliably, honestly standing for what we really want. Reminding us of the power we actually have within ourselves.
Can you see how all of these start within yourself? How you can learn to lead yourself, and then expand on supporting others from this point in a very seamless manner?
Can you see how it’s actually a lot more about authentic realness, and a ton less about those games of power and pretending we tend to confuse leadership with?
Can you see how leadership actually is for everyone and how we can make the world a better place if we all do it?