If you look into the executive offices of any company, you may or may not find leadership. It is not a job title or a corner office. People follow a person with a higher position in the organization for one of two reasons – the first reason involves fear, coercion, and self-preservation.
The second reason reveals itself through attributes like engaging optimism, self-responsible accountability, courageous persistence, inspired purpose and never-ending possibility.
Which may make you wonder, if this is truly available to leaders everywhere, why is it so scarce in business and organizational cultures? On paper, empowering leadership seems like a simple choice, and it is. Unfortunately, it is not an easy choice. The core difference in whether we choose leadership that is beyond ordinary or leadership in name only… is a matter of ego. Bumping up against others and ourselves in the action-oriented environment of business, it becomes more difficult to discern where and when our ego gets in the way.
None of us is immune to desires for money, success, and acknowledgement – in fact they can be essential motivators in our job. Yet when the “I” overshadows the “we” by behaviors like, attempting to gain power with aggression or passivity, consistently using blame, negativity and judgment towards ourselves or others and taking more power than what serves the organization or giving too much away by enabling, sooner or later the impact of how these tricksters undermine and corrode the organization become apparent and as a result we become open to what lies beyond the ego.
Underneath, the grasping of the “I” lies something beyond ordinary found in every human being. Different people will refer to it in many different ways. Some call it essence. Others refer to “losing themselves” in the flow of creativity, inspiration or enthusiasm. Still others simply call it “my best or highest self”. Our experience is that it doesn’t matter much what you call it, but it makes a remarkably noticeable difference in the way you function when you are “centered” or aligned with your values and highest intentions that come from your heart or are founded in your soul or spirit.
This is where authentic leadership begins, leadership that recognizes that the success of the company and everyone involved must be the guiding force. For leadership to be valued and respected, it has to protect, support, inspire, and lift up everyone on the team. And while it sounds great, it’s not easy to achieve. It takes an investment in your people, culture, and – of course – yourself. It’s real work, but it pays you back very well; not just in customer retention and company profitability, but in overall quality of life for everyone connected to your business.
The best companies develop a commonly used narrative about “leaving your egos at the door.” These companies have many leaders who proactively turn the company purpose and visionary possibilities into positive practices that define their culture, as in “the way we work around here.” These companies also understand that leadership is not restricted to any position on the org chart. Leaders holding positions of authority intentionally develop and bring this way of being out of everyone who is up for the opportunity to be part of a company that is beyond ordinary.
So, please call us today to begin a new conversation for leadership within your organization!