We humans continually explore the concept of leadership–how to lead effectively, how to lead creatively, how to lead…period. Parents call it parenting. Managers call it managing. Politicians call it governing. Call it what you will, leadership runs through our culture and society like a necessary part of the infra-structure we call Life.
In our exploration of the leadership dynamic, we can look to nature as well. The organization of ants and bees have clearly defined roles…who defines those roles? That entity would, by definition, be the leader, right? Dogs establish hierarchies determined by who is the alpha in the pack, and that clarity is demonstrated by behaviors that mark the alpha dog as “preferred” in all circumstance–a role many leaders in the human world also claim. The interactions among horses is often about who is the leader right now…they jockey with body language for the coveted position of controlling the herd with a flick of their ears or a strategic placement of body. With horses, the leader is the one who moves everyone else without moving themselves. They lead from behind.
Whether we are leaders who forge ahead blazing a trail that others follow (because it’s easier than clearing a new trail, oftentimes) or whether we lead by strength of will and an inclination toward strong opinion, in every interaction there is a component of leading–or being led–in the relationship dynamic, I think. All of us have our own leading–and being led–style, and the operative question is: how well is it working in creating the satisfaction and fulfillment we desire?
While it might be enough for a horse to have all of the other horses move away from the water trough when the alpha horse approaches, human desires for fulfillment and satisfaction are often more intricate and complex to measure in terms of success. Some of us, for example, are “reluctant” leaders–it isn’t our desire to bear the responsibility of leadership, it’s just our nature to take charge and get things “done.” I speak with authority on this particular personality quirk…
And that is what moved me to study leadership and develop a creative process within myself for leading from behind, as it were. My strongest intention in a work group is to get it done. My strongest intention in personal relationships is to feel connected harmoniously. My strongest intention in my personal evolution is to engage collaboratively with all forms of Life, respecting the nuance of diversity that makes the sum total greater than its parts. All great stuff…as long as everyone agrees with me. Leadership is so easy when everyone has the same intentions, right?
When different styles and view points come into play…well, then, I think I’d rather find another way–neither directing others nor leading others to follow the path I forge. Then I’d rather just be authentically who I am, attentive to what’s happening around me and expressing my thoughts and feelings with as much harmless honesty as I can muster, making my choices based on what serves what I believe is my will to good. From this position, sometimes, I still find myself influencing–leading–the flow of an interaction. I call leadership that happens under these conditions “leadership through resonance.”
Leadership through resonance: influence through the art of living in full integration with one’s intentions.
Consider the impact of leadership through resonance. What would our personal world of relationships be like if we let go of controlling the behavior of others and embraced the practice of being true to what has meaning to us at the level of core values? How would our work communications evolve if everyone gave over the idea of directing, or being directed, to the intention of establishing personal excellence through alignment with core intentions? What would happen in politics if the politicians who had the most leadership influence were the ones who led through resonance?
I like where my mind goes when I imagine living and collaborating and leading through resonance. I love how my heart feels when I imagine the sharing that happens as we resonate through the power of living in harmony with what we value. I awaken into possibilities that bring our world and our leaders and our relationships into a place where mutual respect is the foundation, and everything flows from there. I resonate. Can you feel me?
Thank you. I love you.