CO BIZ MAGAZINE: Published January 2017
Lights on Leadership is leadership driven from the inside out verses the outside in. As a youth, my favorite author was Leo Buscaglia. My room was filled with his uplifting quotes. A few of the following still carry me forward in life:
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
“Change is the end result of all learning.”
“A person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn feel, grow or love. Chained by his certitude, he is a slave; he has forfeited his freedom. Only the person who risks is truly free.”
Are you a leader in life? Perhaps you waver in your response as the words pop up in your mind, “Well, I think so, I would like to think so…it depends on your definition of leader.” A spirit driven leader in life is one who moves from the inside out verses the outside in, who guides another back to themselves as connected to their greatest expression of who they are created to be in this world. When a leader moves from their spirit they are able to go for what they want without the heaviness of attachment to something outside of them. An attachment is an emotional state of clinging do to the belief that without some specific thing, person or outcome you cannot be happy. A spirit driven leader is not concerned about the impression they make on others, this is living from the outside in, which will always render the one who plays this finite game of life vulnerable to rising and falling depending upon how the world judges them at that time…it is exhausting and unproductive.
Do you want to be a lights on leaders in 2017? Below are 10 things to explore for Lights On Leadership: A leader who is driven from within, who is in touch with the spirit and leads from within:
- A leader is a constant student, knowing that their ability to develop talent in another is in direct proportion to their ability to develop their own gifts and talents. The student and the teacher co-exist within the heart of the spirit driven leader.
- The spirit driven leader gives his/her spirit permission to guide others through the archway of love and humility utilizing appreciative inquiry and servant leadership rather than bullying behavior.
- Knowing that a successful organization is made up of individuals who seek out learning opportunities for growth, the spirit driven leader creates a learning environment that fosters engagement: the force that motivates employees to higher levels of performance (Practices for Engaging the 21st Century Workforce, Castellano, 2014).
- A spirit driven leader is one who has mastered himself in the area of impulse control revealing emotional intelligence that flows from the practice overcoming, what has been referred to by many spiritual mystics as fleshly outbursts, more commonly known as ego driven behavior: I need to rise above you in order to feel successful and enough. A spirit driven leader fosters the growth in others without the fear of being overlooked or unseen in the light of the success of another for the good of all concerned, including the organization.
- The spirit driven leader lives in the space of mental observation verses reactive behavior. The one who steps away from defensive routines: entrenched habits we use to protect ourselves from the embarrassment and threat that come from exposing our thinking (The Fifth Discipline, Senge, 2006). Rather than avoiding vulnerability they champion it as an effective tool for instant human connection and learning opportunities.
- A good facilitator is a common trait associated with a leader who gives their spirit permission to guide their flesh. A spirit driven leader does not need to own, control or possess a conversation rather they thrive on existing outside of judgments and assumptions and encourage the open flow of dialogue, stepping away from the expert role and empowering all participants to do the same.
- A spirit driven leader steps away from labels that prevent solution based thinking. They define conflict as a situation that requires their attention for solution and invite the flow of meaning contained within effective dialogue.
- The leader who empowers others from their inner spirit practices mindful living, which allows space for those things that ignite creativity and spontaneity in the present moment; Playful behavior that quickly flips heavy team energy into lighthearted observation.
- Assumptions and conclusions are replaced by a curious, open mindset that asks, seeks and knocks when faced with opportunities for growth and expansion. The spirit driven leader uses this powerhouse mindfulness approach in 1:1 conversations as well as collective thinking. Asking questions for clarity as well as mentoring opportunities make up a valuable piece in the foundation of spirit driven leadership.
- Bookending the day with prayerful reflection around what worked and what didn’t work specifically within their personal field: choice of response to people and circumstances around them. Setting the intention for the next day without holding onto guilt and shame, releasing what didn’t work and expanding what did work.