Turning up your leadership light
In a moment in human history when we’re dismantling, breaking down old institutions, structures and long-cherished conventions (some more cherished than others of course), and rejecting old ways of being and doing, leadership has never been more important.
And tempting as it is to go with the ‘out with the old, bring in the new’ flow there are some things, timeless human qualities, that we leave behind, or tone down, at our peril in a bid to be on ‘trend’ and on the pace.
What I’m talking about here are the things that make up our character and give stability in an unstable world – virtues such as empathy, courage, fortitude, honesty, kindness, generosity and the like. In the rush to reform, and re-form, and ensure we and our organisations are part of the new world, and the pressures this brings in an uncertain world, such virtues can get side-lined. In essence we dim what is our inner light, our inner power.
Yet it’s that inner light, made explicit in our behaviours and actions, that determines the quality of our leadership and whether others choose to engage and go with us or not. I’m not talking about charisma here, at least not in the conventional sense where others are dazzled by the megawattage, mesmerised yet have no real experience of what’s beneath.
Reaching the hearts of others…
Our inner light, properly tended, is mesmerising in its own way because it reaches the hearts of others…the place where true connection is made.
As a matter of leadership practice we should be tending our light on a continuous basis. So, for example, do we notice…
- When courage slips into bravado
- When loyalty is downgraded in favour of an expedient alliance or approach to relationship
- When empathy becomes a construct of manipulation
- When kindness – even the tough love variety – has become ‘never-present’
I could go on but you get my point.
Whatever technological advances our genius creates, human potential and relationships are the heart of our positive progress in work and in life. As leaders, ensuring our inner light and power stay strong and true is vital.