Leadership. Audio version here
If you’re a bit of a reader (likely as you’re reading this) then I’ll start by recommending a good book.
Even if you’re not necessary into the genre, it’s worth having a go at, as you’ll easily be able to see the metaphor behind the story – I’ll leave you with it, and share no more, or be at risk of spoiling it for you.
“When it comes to leadership, there’s certainly a very fine balance to be struck. Amongst many things, this includes the necessary balance between giving the people what they want and getting what it is, you want. This last sentence holds the key element to powerful leadership: what you want.”
What exactly do you want? Immediately, you may think I’m going to get all righteous and noble and say: leadership has nothing to do with what you want. This would be incorrect and I would go as far as to say: powerful, effective leadership, has everything to do with what you want.
Let’s paint a picture of the ideal. In the ideal picture what you actually want, and is therefore your motivation, is a beautiful life. Of course what your definition, or beliefs, of what ingredients are needed to form a beautiful life, will be important. If having a beautiful life for you, includes the experience of seeing disharmony, suffering and hardship, amongst those you lead, then we have a problem. So obviously, good leadership, includes such things as compassion, empathy and so on.
Now, coming back to what you want (a beautiful life), a further important ingredient, is the understanding that a beautiful life is only ever achieved, when we see others experiencing it. For example, the best cooks are the ones who gain enormous amounts of pleasure, witnessing people eating and enjoying their beautifully prepared food – I have a great deal of respect for a good cook.
“Perhaps we could gain an important insight here in terms of identifying whether or not you have the most suited character traits for good leadership i.e does observing happy, joyous people, give you a sense of satisfaction? Are the policies you’re likely to implement going to enhance the lives of the people you lead? All important questions.”
Good leadership no doubt includes good, healthy internal drivings. Consider a leader who blindly pursues self-centered agendas that are based on playing to deep seated anger and resentment. This deep seated anger and resentment will of course reside within the leader themselves, and yet, the goal of power is to play to this within the people. In other words we have a negative as the driver.
Changing this around is to have a positive as the driver. Perhaps to talk about union, togetherness, prosperity within individuals, rather than segregation.
“To be able to promote individuality at the same time as togetherness is to empower each and everyone of the people you lead.”
This is achieved through appealing, not to deep seated anger and resentment, but to the freedom of movement love of the self, promotes.
The example of Scottish independence is a good one, as the current SNP agenda, is loosely based on the negative, historical continuity, of a hatred between the Scottish and the English. People will be reluctant and restrained from moving on when they continue to see, and are given value, in remaining stuck in the past.
“The amount of companies, for example, that still manage their staff through using authoritarian fear, instilled in childhood, never ceases to amaze me.”
Manage through the belief, that all your staff have the best interest of the company at heart and have emotional intelligence – or at the very least the potential to gain this – and you’ll be on the right track. This is done through education.
So there we are, a snippet to help us understand the what and who of powerful leadership. Your internal map holds the key. The ability to listen to good advice is also important.