Clear Confident Leader Weekly Observer, Issue #61
From the Greenbelt of Boise Idaho, Sunny Skies
Leader: a person who leads.
Lead: to guide on a way or direct on a course.
Leadership: the capacity to lead.
We become what we practice.
– Richard Strozzi-Heckler
As a Leadership Coach, I hear a lot of questions about leadership. Here are three I find helpful to reflect upon.
1. Who is a Leader?
We often assign the word “leader” to someone with a title or position, or someone having great influence during a moment in time. Yet, the definition of a leader is “a person that leads”, and to lead is “to guide on a way, or direct on a course” (Merriam-Webster.com).
In this context, we all lead our own lives, and influence those around us by guiding or directing as we fulfill roles with our families and friends, teams and organizations, and communities. Interdependent, we’re always leading and following each other. We choose our course and accept ways of being, consciously and unconsciously each day. Our opportunity is to claim our role as leaders and consciously choose when and how we lead and follow.
We can consciously choose our own direction, even in dire circumstances. As Holocaust survivor, neurologist and psychiatrist Viktor Frankl shared, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
Consider, when and how am I choosing to lead and follow?
2. What are we creating?
As events arise, our biology reacts quickly checking for intention, is this a threat to my survival, imagined or real? Our predictive brains create interpretations based on patterns of memory and experience. We then react to what we perceive with the conditioned responses embedded in our bodies.
Our unconscious capacity to react reinforces the same patterns, and can stand in the way of creating better results, new outcomes, and a brighter future. Our opportunity is to pause between stimulus and reaction to consider what we want to create.
To create requires clear intentionality, and the presence to make mindful choices in the moment. To paraphrase one of my teachers, Kimbal Anderson, “it takes great courage and focused attention to create with each of the mundane events of daily life.” It is easier to just react to what arises without thinking about what we’re creating.
Consider, what is it I want to create in the situations I experience?
3. Why develop our capacity to lead?
We are incredibly adaptive beings, and we entrain to the communities in which we live, learn and work. This is why “culture eats strategy for breakfast.”
To paraphrase Einstein, “we can’t solve today’s problems with the same level of leadership that created them.” Our future and that of those who follow us, depends upon our evolving to greater levels of leadership.
To develop new capacities, we must engage with teachers and communities that practice the skills we want to develop. Developing mastery requires refined practice with the guidance of someone who has gone before us, and who is able to teach and show us the way. It requires us to consciously evolve our practice of leadership.
Consider, where and how do I consciously evolve my practice of leadership?
I work with teams and leaders to create better results through the conscious practice of leadership, cultivating resilient effectiveness and compassionate action. Let’s create a better future today!