October 22, 2010
Still touched by the leaders whom I have encountered this month, I came across several past newsletters that I had written, in which I shared some highlights from a 6-part series on Dan Pink’s six senses from his book, A Whole New Mind: the “high touch, high concept, aptitudes,” that will shape our future. The high touch leader – the one who is other-oriented, who recognizes strengths in those around him/her, and who continually holds positive intentions – is the one I gently ask us to be as we engage with one another.
In one of my social media forums, I posted on a blog. The question e-pal and Sales and Leadership blogger, Doyle Slayton, posed was: Do we have a leadership problem?” The commentary that followed was intriguing; there were many responses in the form of blog comments, posts, and tweets. My knee-jerk response was, “Yes.” And I believed it could be summed up in 3 little letters: E-g-o.
The word “power” was used, and others indicated that there is lack of motivation, lack of people to take responsibility. Yet, I think it is the mindful way in which we look at and engage with another that really measures our leadership barometer. I believe that when we allow our egos to take the driver’s seat, leadership opportunities get kicked to the curb.
Nine years ago, I wrote my graduate thesis on storytelling and art making to nourish our souls. In today’s text-mania world, traditional storytelling has not only been relegated to the back seat, I’m willing to suggest that it has been put in the trunk or rear cargo hold. It is a challenge to eke out a story in a 140-character tweet. The impetus for my first published work was from my grandfather, who a local historian in 1986, described this way:
“He was an avid reader, a celebrated raconteur, and a shrewd social observer with a droll sense of humor. He was above all, a natural leader, one who led by the force of his character, rather than his position in society. He was a calm, extraordinary persuasive leader, who guided the group as a shepherd might guide his flock. He prodded, soothed, mediated, and motivated, always with an eye to the welfare of the whole.”
Pride aside, for I was always close with my story-telling grandfather, the words that resonated with me then, as they still do today, are the “shepherd . . . with an eye to the welfare of the whole.”
Michael Carroll, in his 2007 book, The Mindful Leader, teaches us how to “lead beyond arrogance, fear, and resentment, and in turn inspire the best in others.” As we continue to prod and set our daily intentions, dreams and goals, I invite you to follow the shepherd, the one who leads with his/her eye to the welfare and well-being of the whole. Consider the non-ego action verbs to drive us: prod, soothe, mediate, and motivate and allow the inspiration of a mindful leader to get behind the wheel of the car.
“More often than not, seeking success for ourselves proves pointless and shallow, whereas, seeking success and inspiration for others, almost always delivers prosperity and well-being right into our hands.”– Michael Carroll (2007)
What can we do today, to showcase our leadership to others?