People never fail any project, leadership does. And so you can't ignore how you are showing up as a leader.
"Listen with ears of tolerance!
See through the eyes of compassion!
Speak with the language of love!" ~ Anonymous
For any great leadership to happen, you'll notice at the core, these four things are at play; not in any particular order though:
1. Common intention
A powerful intention binds us all together initially. This is what we commonly refer to as the purpose, cause, mission, 'the why' to which we can relate to. It is beyond one's agenda to meet personal gains, but an agenda for the greater good to support the bigger vision. It has to be powerful for people to relate to, come together and give their sweat & blood. Otherwise why would they even join hands; solo would have been good! Why work together with no sense of purpose, no sense of connection to the why?! A leader who talks initially of lofty visions and along the journey drifts away from it or is unable to support the team in envisioning why they are putting their energy, time and effort; will not be able to harness the requisite amount of motivation and drive required to pull them in that direction. It will require the leader to push people through his/her agenda. And this requires lot of energy which eventually will be draining & not serving at all. This leads to issues like lack of motivation, low morale, draining energy etc. People can see through it. They feel it when there is deviation from the agenda and when the agenda has become very personal to the leader unless you are working with dumb-heads. They realize and see that they are being used as a means to achieving that agenda and so slowly and slowly, they start withdrawing. Then their defense mechanisms are at play too because they got to save themselves. That's natural! Hence, the survival mechanisms come to the fore! They become guarded and fear that they might just be used & there's nothing for them to look up to or contribute to. Some kind of hope sabotage or fatigue is there. Let's hypothetically consider this that the intention of the leader is very good but how it is being perceived by the receiver isn't. Then also, as a leader, one has to take responsibility for the impact that is getting created as a result of who he/she is being. Now you may question, why should I? You may not, but when you are a leader, your job is very crucial and it demands more from you. It requires you to show up in a different way. It requires you to model what is expected from people. Everyone resorts to blaming, but a great leader takes the lead and models. That's why, leadership is not just a title, but a responsibility, a journey of transformation from your shadow side to your greatness. Your willingness to walk that journey will elicit the same from the people that you are leading. Telling, coercing and expecting won't. At least in today's scenario where you are leading brilliant, smart, independent & inspiring people; it won't. That's the work that you have to initiate in yourself to be able to enable people to stay connected with the why and not deviate from it.
Many a times, our context plays a crucial role in shadowing the leadership that once started with lot of zeal and enthusiasm. A leader who isn't aware of himself/herself, who has not done deep transformative work on oneself, won't be able to notice how his/her being is working against him/her. Many a times, our shadows play without us realizing that our survival mechanisms are at play. And when you can't accept that, when you are in your own illusive world based on your stories and contexts, you will see others from that lens and so every creation would be sourced from fear and not love. The bigger picture gets lost in this urge to deal with the stuffs that are showing inside of us and not willing to bring it up & see through it. Authenticity is realizing that this is happening to you and acknowledging it; not hiding it or pretending perfect. This would build more trust among people who are watching you and waiting to join hands with you in your lead towards that vision. You will be able to enroll people into your ideas when there is honesty and conviction in what you think, feel, say and do.
"Why is it so hard to trust people? The real question is: "Why is it so hard for the people to tell the truth?"
As a leader, if you are unsure, can't speak your truth for whatever reasons, gaining trust is next to impossible. Many a times, a leader himself/herself has trust issues because of unpleasant past experiences. May be a clearing hasn't been done there. And so, in every action, there is glimpse of that hurt/pain and it slowly corrodes the foundation. Because the leader operates from a space of saving oneself or protection from getting hurt. Speaking the truth, modelling vulnerability will go a long way in gaining people's trust. Our urge to look perfect every time, kills our relationships. When you carry a burden within, how do you think you will focus your energy in the moment to see it in totality?!
Consistency in our thoughts, feelings and actions is important. That builds trust. And when there is trust, people feel free to open up. And that's what leads to deeper connections. A leader who tries to be perfect, tries to project who he/she is not, tries to lead without understanding self and others, tries to use power as a means to coerce people to follow him/her and dictates one's projections/judgement, eventually leads no one to good but self & all to toxicity and curbs creativity and innovation. Leading is caring and opening up to the point that you are willing to accept all the discomfort that comes along the way for the greater good of the people and for fulfilling the bigger intention.
And if you see that kind of toxic leadership, call it out for the greater good of the people and for the bigger why. Inviting you to see within and look around, what kind of a leader you are and what kind of leadership you are supporting?
Believing in you,
#leadership #deepwork #insight #leadershipdevelopment #coaching
Life & Organizational Development Coach