Been thinking about this coming election and the issue of leadership. What comes up are two words Cooperation & Dialogue: Without the underlying meaning of each word and the importance of how they work together how does any leader ever hope to arrive at creative problem solving, possible consensus or at the least a meaningful degree of agreement? And, as an aside, I am only interested in sharing what I know to be true about leadership and not recommending a candidate.
Over my many years I’ve worked closely with young people having little or no experience in any field. If I hired them they were hired because I recognized the student in them. Potential has always been an attraction to me. Also worked with experts in their chosen field and even they had to accept that they too were students and eager to grow or our working together would be wasted. I was blessed because my experience with the great majority of people I worked with proved to be enriching for them and me too, even as mentor. Subject matter and dialogue was such that we learned about ourselves and each other as feelings of respect and being vulnerable grew between us.
Because of my work with other entrepreneurs and professional I discovered that leaders create the environment, not employees. I was hired to resolve issues between staff, but discovered that below the surface it was the leader and their behavior that was at the root of relationship problems. Because of this I read everything I could get my hands on relative to power and discovered that most of what was written avoided the hard facts that leaders are their own worst enemy. I even think I know why so little of this truth has been exposed. Being a messenger is dangerous business. Have you read Machiavelli’s “The Prince” lately?
To realize the power of the leader to influence was an “eye opener” for me. After all, I was a leader for twenty five years prior to becoming a mentor to other organizations. As mentor I was employed to resolve problems between staff, but discovered that I, as leader and those leaders that called upon me, were the real problem. When leading I did not invite my key people to tell me “what kind of leader am I?” Few leaders are so enlightened as to be aware of the power to influence others and then to use this power to nurture others. If I and other leaders do and did the right thing for our staff, it was an accident being the “good guy” and not necessarily being consciously aware and intentional.
Soon following my epiphany I made the announcement that leaders had to be a student of self if they hoped to grow others -- in others words, “me first” as the example student. This meant being vulnerable, respecting, listening, understanding and being candid with key people. I labeled this: Genuine Dialogue and informed all that the leaders and their key people come together as students offering each participant the opportunity to also grow. As this progressed environments began to change as did relationships. Interestingly, it had nothing to do with the type organization they were.
The lesson learned and never to be forgotten is that how leadership power is used makes all the difference in how those dependent on the power react. The environment created and recreated is always a result of relationship and communication between leader and those dependent on the leader. This is true whether power is in the hands of a mother, a teacher, business person or a leader of government. Dialogue and Cooperation go hand in hand and leads to growth and solutions. VOTE! Sy
L&MB Magazine 6 - Q2, 2016
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