Leading From Within

sun & cloudsBut little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save.

–Last 14 lines from Mary Oliver’s poem, “The Journey”

Leadership is an inner game.

It doesn’t come from the sound of a commanding voice.

It comes from hearing the nudging of one’s own inner voice.

It comes from no longer ignoring the promptings from inside, from dismissing them as murky and unclear.

For me, it has come from no longer listening to a story in my head and from a fear of rejection in my gut, that poetry and all it represents doesn’t belong in my work. Poetry is an essential part of who I am. If I leave it out, I can’t fully show up. Continue Reading »

Cuer for Courage

The word “courage” originates from 1250-1300, from the Old French word, “cuer,” which was the word for heart.  To be courageous is to do things with heart.

Courage can be revealed through simple acts of self-expression, when conscience overcomes reticence, when we make our presence known by challenging a falsehood that has been advertised as truth, when we name something that conflicts with our values, when we stop to help another, or when, instead of faking competency, we admit we don’t know how to do something.

Courage in the workplace requires an artful mix of vulnerability and toughness.  For without vulnerability – openness about mistakes, weaknesses, and what is in the heart of a person – trust, the foundation for high functioning relationships and teams, cannot exist. 

Leaders have to model the way.  For others to be vulnerable, leaders have to be willing to wear their hearts on their sleeves,

and be willing to have them broken,

and have the courage to show others how to take heart again.

Heart image: oedipusphinx