The first year and a half of my fellowship has provided much of what I hoped it might...A time to intentionally reflect on what I want my leadership to look like in the coming chapters. Following are a few themes on the ways my ideas of leadership have been shaped or honed. Focusing on the art of leadership (The How) vs. the science of leadership (The What.) The fellowship had provided the opportunity to reflect more on the softer side of leadership...How do I lead and engage people? Seeing leadership as an emotional skill and not just a series of actions. I have a greater appreciation for leadership as an art or craft...something that I can always be growing and improving in. I have historically been very results oriented...What interests me now is how do we get those results and what does it mean for the people who are being engaged in the process of achieving those results. Martin Buber, the Austrian Philosopher, championed the idea of living an I/Thou life as a leader vs. and I/It life...I/Thou is when we see those around us as fully human vs. the I/It where we see people as less than human, mere functionaries there to serve our ends. I confess there have been times in my leadership journey where I embodied an I/It kind mindset. I'd like to be done with this and instead be more focused on those around me...Asking what can I bring to them? How can I serve them? How can I elevate their desires and ambitions? I still believe in results...we are accountable as leaders to deliver. But I think I can do and be better in how those results are achieved. Another related idea that has captivated to me this last year is the idea of being a Redemptive leader. Redemptive goes beyond just being ethical to being truly sacrificial. An ethical leader commits to not doing the wrong thing...A redemptive leader asks what is the highest good? What sacrifices am I willing to make to achieve this good? I want ethical to be the floor, the bare minimum, while I strive to be more sacrificlal in my leadership. Finally, I've landed on one of my favorite description of leadership that continues to ground me in the swirl of endless to dos and competing priorities. A Leader Sets Direction...Aligns People and Motivates & Inspires (Kotter)...When I'm stumbling around I stop myself and ask am I doing one of these things?
Focusing on my leadership has certainly slowed me down and helped me be more aware of what I am doing and my impact others. I’ve had more of a “meta” perspective on my actions. This fellowship and opportunity came at a very good time in the sense that our organization had matured and has been in a growing, but stable place allowing me to be more thoughtful and less reactive than in some other seasons. I’ve also had the chance to share much of what I’ve been learning, particularly from my Oxford program, with select members of my team
Certainly one of the greatest gifts of the fellowship has been the encouragement towards and resourcing for self care. I have always believed in the principal of slowing down, doing things that recharge you, recreating, taking a sabbath but this season I would say I have been even more intentional. I believe this is something that will stick and I see it as really the only way to bring my besto over the long term.