Who will lead us?
I'm about halfway through Synchronicity: The Inner Path of Leadership by Joseph Jaworski.
flickr photo by Joelk75
I've written about his former partner Adam Kahane before.
The book is an unusual sort of business/leadership book in that it's organized like an autobiography and is about leadership as an inner path - a path of service rather than one of power and control.
Peter Senge writes in the introduction:
He suggests that the fundamental choice that enables true leadership in all situations (including, but not limited to, hierarchical leadership) is the choice to serve life. He suggests that in a deep sense, my capacity as a leader comes from my choice to allow life to unfold through me. This choice results in a type of leadership that we've known very rarely, or that we associate exclusively with extraordinary individuals like Gandhi or King. In fact, this domain of leadership is available to us all, and may indeed be crucial for our future.
Did you catch that? "This domain of leadership is available to us all."
...We search for special individuals with leadership potential, rather than developing the leadership potential in everyone. We are easily distracted by what this or that leader is doing, by the melodrama of people in power trying to maintain their power and others trying to wrest it from them. When things are going poorly, we blame the situation on incompetent leaders, thereby avoiding any personal responsibility. When things become desperate, we can easily find ourselves waiting for a great leader to rescue us. Through all of this, we totally miss the bigger question: "What are we, collectively, able to create?"
Do we really need a leader to come along to lead us? What if we accept ourselves as leaders and let life unfold through us? What if we each embrace our own higher purpose instead of running from it or throwing up obstacles?
On a related note, I recently finished Poke the Box by Seth Godin – a manifesto about starting, where he writes:
As soon as we willingly and blindly accept what’s given, we lose all power. Only by poking, testing, modifying, and understanding can we truly own anything, truly exert our influence.
And here's the best advice he could possibly have given:
Imagine that the world had no middlemen, no publishers, no bosses, no HR folks, no one telling you what you couldn’t do.
If you lived in that world, what would you do?
Go. Do that.
Amen to that.