I’ve spent time over the last week and a half interviewing women around leadership: how they identify as leader, what’s important as a leader and what challenges they find or have found in being leader.
The most prevalent answer or theme that KEPT coming back was about integrity.
It wasn’t really a surprise.
This was something that kept me hiding my desire to lead for SO long. I felt betrayed by leaders who I’d known that had stepped out of their integrity, individuals I’d looked up to that hadn’t been 'all they seemed'.
At the time, I was too young to realise I was idolising these people, and that everyone makes mistakes. I was sabotaging my own desire to be leader. I was judging others as a way of avoiding my own internal call to leadership. And I hadn’t allowed myself to feel the pain of the apparent betrayal.
Integrity is an interesting one. Some of my interviewees expanded their answer to include transparency. Humility.
What we desire from our leaders is the ability to be REAL. Open about what’s REALLY going on, yet handling the messiness of their growth in a dignified, mature way, as a process and an opportunity to learn. Admitting where things can be changed (and perhaps haven’t been yet) and creating the opportunities to make things better.
We pore over celebrities, wanting to hear the details of their lives, anxious for the details of their mistakes, so we can feed the belief that if we stood up in our own glory, stood in our true radiance and let ourselves shine, it’s still ok to have days when our hair just doesn’t go right and we say things we didn’t mean to.
We all lead. It might be just a project that is one of our own, with no one else involved. We lead the process, because we lead ourselves.
Leadership is about knowing your own creative, influential power and so many people feel powerless over their lives.
Being real as a leader is one of the most powerful ways to inspire, because it’s about vulnerability in service of EVERYONE's growth.
A leader is one that’s willing to stick their neck out, take the first step and risking the chance that they might be criticised. Learning how to stand in their own power without being rocked by the waves of other people’s judgement.
About 6 months ago, I shared a vulnerable story about my choice to leave the church. It provoked reactions from several angles.
As soon as I posted it I got into bed and hid under the covers. I was literally too scared to show my face, despite being in the flat alone, in Italy, away from most of the people who would read it.
It was my most liked and commented post ever and I was overwhelmed by the messages I received, of those who knew about what had happened and from those who identified with the pain I’d gone through.
We share our vulnerability and we help others shine. It’s all growth. It starts with a choice.
When we have a big vision, we often have massive resistance. I believe it’s our soul psyching ourselves up. We know what we’re getting into, we know it will be huge and we want to be ready. It can take years.
We will shine. We just have to take the deep breath and say...
Now. Now is the time.
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