The lost art of leadership
Most of our role models of leadership are drawn from the combative fields of the military, politics, business or sport, and all too often, amidst a backdrop of adversity. And as such the leadership style that seems to best serve the climate of the day is directive.
If you conduct a Google search for "leadership quotes" I guarantee that 90% will be masculine archetypal leaders from the battleground. The only variations you will see are rights activists and the occasional rarefied spiritual leader.
When it comes to business leaders there is another dynamic often present and that is the presumption of positional leadership or title. We look, by default, to positional leaders in positions of power and authority amidst an institutional setting. Where is the art in that?
It is my contention that transformational change must have its origins outside the corridors of power and vested interest. For this, and other reasons, I am an avid fan of spirituality in leadership and creativity, innovation and many of the more esoteric feminine forms that leadership can and must embrace.
The unheralded value that the feminine brings to the leadership paradigm is the antithesis of power, control, authority and the directive approach. The subtlety of the feminine is in creating an environment; a vacuum, into which individuals from all walks of life and free of title can step into and reclaim their own personal power.
Like art, it is best created on a blank canvas free of constraint. If the organisational constraints, financial budgets and other factors must be adhered to then they should be applied AFTER the initial freeform thinking takes place, and here is why:
We live in times of unprecedented chaos, uncertainty and rapid technological change. The old rules simply do not apply any more. And if you think of how/when rules are created they aren't created by the legal eagles, they are created by the legislators. They are enforced by the legal eagles and authorities.
Before we go searching for the answers, it is best we ask the right questions. And this lost art of leadership is quintessentially feminine – it is how deeply we embrace living in chaos. How we pause to listen to our heart-guided intuition rather than plundering into solution mode. Leadership has a bias for action and it does demand that you stand up for what you believe but here is the best way I can describe the interplay between masculine and feminine in leadership – let heart guide will.
The emergence of women into positions of power and authority has little to do with the rise of the feminine in leadership. It has everything to do with allowing our hearts to guide our will. And a heart-centred conscious male may do this with equal aplomb as a heart-centred conscious female. The art of leadership is a game the whole family can play.
Dennis Roberts helps small business owner/operators start, run and grow their business from conception to exit. He is available for strategic advice, business planning, one-on-one coaching/mentoring, advisory board, interim management and facilitation.