An empowering, inspiring, evolutionary leader knows that leadership is not about titles, roles or positions. It is not about telling people what to do or how to do it. It is about leading through presence.
The events of 2020 have shown us that leaders needed to up their game to be able to survive the constant curve-balls. The need to pivot to adapt requires great resilience and even greater flexibility. But for resilience and flexibility to exist, there needs to be a level of self-awareness that goes far beyond a weekly mindfulness practice. There needs to be a deeper connection to presence.
Why is this so important? Because the more we can connect within, the greater our ability to tap into all the resources we need to be able to lead effectively and not re-actively. And those resources are already with us, waiting to be utilised.
Dealing with a difficult negotiation? Stop and go within. Look at the bigger picture, switch perspectives, understand emotional entanglements, remove assumptions and communicate calmly.
Struggling to find a solution? Stop and go within. Think laterally, utilise the knowledge base within the organisation, consider different scenarios, call in external experts, open the floor to safe expression.
Difficulty in understanding toxic behaviour from a colleague? Stop and go within. Hold the space and look at what is driving the behaviour, change the narrative and shift to compassion, show empathy and find the trauma that requires healing, offer support.
Leading with presence requires great commitment and a deeper understanding of self. By looking closely at our own behaviours, reactions, responses and triggers we can get a clearer vision of our values and guiding principles. We can learn to take the time we need to breathe – before we respond, before we make a decision, before we commit to an action. We become aware of the energy that we bring to the room. What does that energy look like? How do we make people feel?
Our consistency ‘safety-net’ is gone. The only way to move through uncertain times is to keep going back to our inner core, our being-ness, our presence. And presence has a big ask of us – it wants us to get real and reveal our authentic selves because authenticity trumps every step by step guidebook we may ever read on ‘how to lead’. If we are not in tune with who we are and coming from a space of authentic openness, we can never aspire to real conscious leadership.
Time and time again studies show that leadership transformation programs fall short of effecting any long-lasting change because they leave out one crucial factor – getting in deep to see what is driving behaviour. Without having the conversations that need to be had about fear, courage, faith, freedom and what is holding leaders back from revealing their true potential, these programs will always fall short. Leaders don’t put on their capes as they leave their homes and hang them up at the end of the day like a modern day Clark Kent. Leaders lead. Period. Whether that’s at home, in the office or for the community charity fundraiser, authentic, empowering and inspiring leaders wear that cape day in, day out.
And in so doing they know that all the answers they need are already held within – and that is their super power.