Today, I want to share with you a powerful concept that lies at the heart of effective leadership – the notion that to lead is to serve.
A dive into the changing notion of Leadership
Leadership is not about power or authority as mistakenly indicated by the way elected politicians are referenced as being ‘in power’. On the contrary, leading is about being a source of inspiration and guidance for those around you. And, whatever views on the British royal family may be, I shall forever respect the Queen for her deep understanding of service, and I remain humbled as to the extent with which she took that to heart, and demonstrated exceptional leadership right up until her passing.
Historically, in the Western world especially, there have been more men and masculine-driven leaders than women or feminine traits within leadership. It is therefore little surprise that over time leadership became sadly misplaced amongst the concepts of power and control rather than service and empowerment of others. Times however are changing as the workplace demands it.
Ever since the first millennials dared to contradict the way the workplace was operating (all hail them I say), there has been a misplaced war of words around the ‘work ethic’ of younger generations, casually avoiding the alternative option of sitting with some introspection into the traditional ways of working and approaches to leadership, and considering that maybe there is a different way. And what might that way be? Join me if you will for a little exploration.
If leadership is viewed as providing a form of power or through an individualistic lens where a leadership role itself provides given rights to expect things of others to achieve your goals, then it is a very external concept. It starts with how you exert yourself over others, it contains a sense of do as I say, not as I do. When leadership is viewed as service, the ability to inspire, engage and connect with others to achieve shared goals then at its core it requires a high level of empathy and emotional intelligence. Both of these can only be attained through introspection and a willingness to lead yourself as well as engage others.
Nurturing Self-Leadership For Connection
By taking time to reflect on, question and get to know ourselves we learn to understand the impact we have on others and better understand how others’ natural ways of being impact us. Understanding how we may be perceived by others and that our perceptions of them can also be skewed by our experiences sets us up to be able to connect with others.
A team, whether that team is one you lead in your workplace or your family, is made up of different people. Different values, different ways of working, different strengths, different preferences, different perspectives, different experiences. We are all gloriously diverse.
You can not hope to create an engaged, fulfilled team if you can’t begin to celebrate the value created by our differences. And yet, with differences comes the potential for challenge, frustration and uncertainty, but fear not because this can all be eased through curiosity, communication and engagement. And so we come full circle because our ability to be curious, to understand how to work with others’ differences begins with being curious and prepared to understand ourselves and where we can positively evolve ourselves.
A leader who looks inward and questions themselves first and foremost makes it okay for others to do the same, thereby creating the potential for increased emotional awareness across the people they engage with. And that lays the foundations for great change, great results and fantabulous impact in all areas of your life and beyond.
Getting curiouser and curiouser
In our quest for self-growth and strengthened leadership, it’s essential to explore different tools and activities that help us understand ourselves better. By embracing curiosity as our guide, we can uncover our unique strengths, weaknesses, passions, and values, and what’s better we can do it in our own weird and wonderful ways. We’ll have no boring boardroom-style self-development activities around here, thank you.
Through my blog, I am committed to sharing valuable insights on how everyday activities can serve as tools to develop yourself and team/community leadership as foundations for more impactful, fun and connected lives. From mindfulness exercises to journaling prompts and reflective practices, we will explore alternative methods that will assist you in deepening your understanding of yourself and building confidence in yourself as a leader for the world around you. Positive leadership is after all the instigator for the ripple effects of good happenings.
So if you like what you’ve read, please give my blog a follow, and I look forward to speaking to you again soon!