As I made plans to embark on this self described mission to engage a discussion on the vital nature of leadership, I took some time contemplate the organizations that I have been privileged to be a part of. The greatest memories of each of them is the memories not only of the people themselves but the amazing potential they individually and collectively possessed. The talents and perspective available to us are truly amazing if we only stop and look.
I don’t think I could have said that two years ago, when I was more interested in competing than collaborating. Back then I had not been introduced to what I now call my essential self. I don’t mean that “self” that always agonized over why my ideas weren’t accepted, or worried how someone else’s actions would affect me, or criticized a co-worker without truly asking what they were trying to accomplish, or filled in the blanks from an email not answered with what could be wrong, not what could be good. and I certainly don’t mean that self that looked for explanations to my own problems in someone else’s flaws.
What I mean that “self” who understands that
it isn’t about being a better employee, manager, peer, partner, worker, accountant, sales person, archictect, leader or whatever other “better thing” we have aspired to be. My essential self. That “self” that understands that it is about being a “better me” … period. Better at being grateful for the unique talents each of us has. And really good at understanding that I don’t have to strive to be better than anyone else at anything at all.
I just have to understand that I will be most fulfilled, and therefore the organization I work for will receive the most value, if I focus on being the best essential “me” that I can. I am a builder, a facilitator and a teacher. If I am doing these things I am most effective and most at peace. And therefore I make those around me better as they get the benefits of my strengths without the drag of me competing with others for “better” status.
And when I am an essential leader who looks for the unique gifts and talents of those on my team, I wonder what will happen if I find ways to draw out those talents and give each person the opportunity to work with these gifts day in and day out. I wonder if I focus on aligning my team on activities that energize them rather than drain them … how how much more each will contribute merely because each is that much more connected to what they do?
We all have our fears and adaptations and we work to keep ourselves safe and significant. We put a lot of energy into making sure those things are true. But what if we all could just know that we already are safe and significant? Then how would we use our energies? What could we accomplish then? What new connections would we make that might lead us to something truly remarkable? How would we grow? What could we contribute? With whom would we collaborate?
This blog will be a journey for me. A part of my own essential journey and a way for me to explore ideas, seek feedback and strengthen my commitment to this path. A way for us to debate and explore and wonder. A way to encourage a new way … the way of Essential Leadership. I invite you to join me in this journey and see where it leads us!
I would also like to thank Louise Gallagher, who helped me launch this blog by allowing me to be a guest author on her site (www.ayearofmakingadifference.com). Louise is an amazing writer who has inspired my desire to express myself through this new medium of a blog. But more importantly Louise is an amazing person who actually does make a difference every day. Please take a moment to have a look at her site as well for some inspiration!