March 15, 2018

You're getting played. Vulnerability isn't enough.

You're getting played. Vulnerability isn't enough. 

The pendulum often swings too far. 

Your job as a leader is to inspire confidence but not deceive. 

A general way to illustrate this:

Yesterday's wrong headed leadership: Seize and keep power. 
"My sales are huge."
"I've done this so many times. I'm an expert."
"I have all the answers."
"This will work with absolute certainty."

Today's naive leadership: Share everything or you're not authentic.
"I'm just a tiny business."
"I've never done this before. Take a chance on me."
"I have no idea what I'm doing."
"I am taking a random guess at solving this problem."

Reality is best lived out in the tension or paradox of truths. You need power and positioning. You need authenticity. 
"Sales are up."
"I've been helping with people with this."
"I've noticed this pattern and I can help you with it."
"I've sough out world class answers and I can give you clear direction but not absolute certainty."

I learned the hard way.

I remember when I first started a public leadership role at age 21. I coudln't talk about any problems in the organization. Without being aware I thought problems would reflect a negative light on my leadership. So I kept the optimism high and forced. 

I've learned a lot since then as I've led teams and organizations. I was wrong. 

It's not my job to convince everyone of a reality that doesn't exist. Nor do I suffocate hope with negativity. 

We move forward with hope and vision while facing reality. And that requires leadership that is both brave and kind. Bravery is necessary to let ambition develop. It's healthy to desire to grow. I want to grow my influence as much as I can. 

As my strength and power increases kindness must increase. The increase of power is for others. The strength you begin to possess is so you can help others. 

Tired of Trump? What about the Pope or Xi?

Organizations get the leaders they deserve so what lurks underneath can be surfaced. (Think of Carl Jung's work on "Shadows".) The stuff is there lurking in the dark. Then it's given permission to come out in the light which is the only way you can heal the darkness. This (and Tuckman's Model of the phases of a team...Forming, Storming, etc) is why there was a Pope in between John Paul II and Francis. And Trump. And why Xi Jinping now has no term limits. 

Religion and politics follow patterns. So does your company. And your family. 

I want the collective "we" to improve but it starts with a healthy "me". You can't fix problems and evils at a collective level first. A healthy individualism builds a healthy collectivism. Reverse that order and you'd need to be the leader of Venezuela. Forced collective change forces more "stuff" underground. 

Bad ideas have to be replaced.

Bad ideas are the problem.

I get fired up writing emails like this and want to start tearing things down. I want to match tactic for tactic. Intensity for intensity. But the best way to render bad ideas ineffective is to replace the world with the better idea.

Vulnerablity like mindfulness is good. It's a start. It's becoming aware. But you have to lean in. Then see what needs to be upgraded before you get into the flow of improvement. 

Developing Awareness, Leaning into the darkness, Flipping the direction, and Enjoying the new Flow are the 4 rhythms or actions of all lasting change. (Any people out there been thru SightShift????)

Let's build a better world. The world needs more courageous and kind leaders. Start with the world around you by becoming that kind of leader. Vulnerability alone isn't enough. You'll just create a vacuum for the next generation's insecure leadership to fill.