Over my 25+ years of working with others, I’ve come to conclude that expressions of, interpretations of and experiences of ‘leadership’ are deeply intimate and personal. For those with whom I engage in a more protracted exploration, they inevitably come to this simple observation: what is common to their definition of leadership is not the words they use or even the examples they give but their inner platform for gauging that external cue: how they recognize the presence of leadership is determined by how they feel inside themselves, about themselves, in the presence of that other.
Without exception, when I asked them, “How can you tell when leadership is present?”, they would inevitably return to a time when they had discovered something meaningful about themselves; when they had looked back and noticed that as a result of the presence of that other, they had grown, discovered and become more than they had been before that other had engaged in ways that touched their lives.
When exploring this nominalization of ‘leadership’, the surface comments spoke to control or philosophies of ‘vision’ and ‘intentions’; ideas of positional leverage and status on the climb up the corporate ladder but ultimately, as we persisted in our search to identify that significant and often elusive ‘quality’ of leadership, we would come to the realization that many of their recalled moments of ‘leadership’ were tied to people who did not qualify in these ways but had nonetheless, profoundly touched their lives.
As our world changes; as more and more awaken to an inner truth that presses for a reclamation of that which we instinctively and intuitively know, what must leadership become? How can we free ourselves of our antiquated notions of ‘leadership’ that we might come to trust those more intimate and personal moments and know that what our world now demands is that each of us, within ourselves, must call up and reclaim our capacity to be authentically and uniquely ourselves, adding our voice to the growing chorus for redefining who we are and how we choose to live.
The following closing thoughts can be found at the end of:
Episode 50 of ‘Reclaiming Your Self: Women Unedited and Engaged!’ on the topic of ‘Women, Leadership and Executive Coaching’.
- “Am I willing to be authentically mySelf, visibly and out loud in the presence of others?” Far too often, we have the experience of an intuitive knowing …about our lives, our work, our world… catching ourselves in the full-blown moment of being delighted by our own imaginings… and then looking around and assessing that insight against the status quo. Too often, we are willing to surrender that inner truth to what we believe is an outer constraint only to discover, down the line, that we regret having been silent. Be willing to stay with what moves inside you; and allow yourself to say out loud, what speaks volumes to you, in the quiet of your own mind.
- “Am I able to engage my life in a meaningfully sustainable way? And what is the relationship of ‘leadership’ to the creation of a meaningfully sustainable life?” Our world is changing… FAST!… and we are losing track of all these changes, in so many places and ways as we seek to rely on what has been our way of moving effectively through our world. If we are to create our lives in a way that leaves us looking forward to living them, we must turn our attention inward; capture the compelling and enlivening notions that call to our imaginations; and become willing to share these with others that they too, might give themselves permission to do the same. Only in this way will we come to know the creativity, innovation and life-altering enhancements that are possible and yet, somehow, remain seemingly out of reach.
- “Am I willing to be the invitation for these same expressions, in others? Am I willing to be the invitation and permission to others, that encourages those expressions of unique thought?” That I share a thought; and that I invite another to do the same need not be presumed to be an act of implementation. However, without the willingness and ability to BECOME the Space that makes room for their expression, the opportunities for discovery are sacrificed to the protection of the status quo… and something is lost that might otherwise have become our next best idea! It takes only a single thought to change our worlds.
“We live in a time of radical change. Radical times demand new and more vibrant and enlivening models for creation. Enter: Boundless LeaderSelf!
Drawing on that which is instinctual for and intuitive to women, this organic and intimate expression of LeaderSelf is a conduit for creating the kind of change that will breathe life into a very different future. Drawn from the inner truth that lives in women; and taking shape through the process of birthing that flows naturally from the biology of what it is to be female, ‘Boundless LeaderSelf’ is your invitation to reconsider ‘leadership’ as a theoretical framework, replaced by the intuitive and essential Self.”