Genuine Contact Summer Academy: Extraordinary Leadership

 

Leadership is a Verb

Leadership and leadership potential are everywhere, in everyone. How do I know this to be true? I have watched children at play. I have never witnessed any child that is not engaged in acts of leadership. If you doubt me, watch a two year old for a while, and you will find yourself engaged in a struggle with the child of who the leader is. As adults, we assume we are in the role of leadership. From the child's perspective, it seems to be the opposite. Children lead in play, they struggle with taking turns to be in the lead, they love being the 'line leader' if they are to participate in an activity to be in a line, and they grab the reins of wanting to direct themselves and others around them. So, what happened to the inborn love for leadership and the evidence that leadership and leadership potential are everywhere, in everyone?

Some of the story of stomping out the love of leadership occurs in how people in most cultures are socialized by parents, schools, and the larger culture. In Australia, children learn at a young age that it is incorrect, and maybe even dangerous to be the 'tall poppy'. This metaphor refers to a bed of poppy flowers that ideally should all be of the same height and if one grows taller than the others, its head gets chopped off. Thus, the socializing is about 'cutting the head off of the tall poppy' if one behaves 'taller' than the others. In Sweden, there is a similar socializing of being the same, rather than standing taller than the others. However, what a culture does to socialize its members is only part of the story.

I believe that one of the factors that causes natural born leadership to lie dormant is that in many countries, we have a concept of a leader as a noun, as a position or person. If we were to shift this perception to experiencing leadership as a verb, we could develop a model of socializing our children and our citizens that leadership is present in everyone, everywhere...and that our natural ability and capacity for leadership needs can be strengthened. As a verb, leadership is a set of actions and attitudes that everyone is capable of developing mastery in to improve their lives, families, small and large enterprises and teams. Through embracing personal leadership, everyone can bring value to life in a sustainable way that is nourished through discovery, exploration and capacity development towards extraordinary leadership.

The journey to create a shift to experiencing leadership everywhere, in everyone, includes

  • a definition of leadership as a verb
  • engaging in a shift in consciousness about leadership being in everyone, everywhere
  • creating the conditions for a culture of leadership
  • nourishing a culture of leadership
  • Enact leadership in your own life
  • Enact leadership in your family unit
  • Enact leadership in a small enterprise, even a solo enterprise
  • Enact leadership in a team
  • Enact leadership in a large enterprise

The challenge and the opportunity

By nourishing a culture of leadership beginning with a shift in consciousness, we can choose a life nurturing future for ourselves, our families, our enterprises, our nations, and our world.

By Birgitt Williams, Senior Consultant of Dalar International Consultancy, Inc., internationally acclaimed specialist in leadership development, consultant development, and strategies for organizational solutions. Visit www.dalarinternational.com for more information.

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