We are the real leaders

Brené Brown suggests that there are many people in leading positions who don’t actually know the first thing about good leadership. I know this, I have come across several such people in various places of past employment.

Traditionally management has been mistaken for leadership. The idea that people can and should be ‘managed’ sends shivers down my spine. It screams control, and when you control an employee, a partner, a child it shuts down expression, creativity and growth. ‘Managing people’ does not make you a leader.

Leadership is about inspiration, about understanding the environment around you on a visceral level, not just a heady ‘this is what you have said, my interpretation of it is the only interpretation.’ Leadership is about understanding the system you lead, seeing that systems of people ebb and flow, and need to ebb and flow in order to grow and create and achieve. There are far too many people out there who accidentally fall into a position of management, and from that place they pretend to lead, but because they don’t do any kind of personal reflection themselves, are actually damaging to those they are meant to be leading.

And then, as Dr Brené Brown discusses, there are the people who are not in leadership positions, but by their mere presence within an organisation, a community group, a family, they lead. They lead because they are at one with themselves, they recognise their purpose, they can see what their ego does to them and they chose not to chase what the ego needs to grow. They know themselves, they see others fully, they inspire by who they are showing up as and how they are present to those around them.

You don’t have to be in a position of authority to be a great leader. Historically we look to those with power for guidance, when in reality each and every one of us has the potential to lead and inspire those around us by just being connected and aligned to who we really are.

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