Friday, April 25, 2014

Leading authentically: a new paradigm for leadership

Leadership has become quite the buzzword these days and with good reason: increasingly, it is being recognized that who we are and how we lead has a direct impact on the quality of our lives and the organizations that we collectively participate in.

Traditional notions of leadership have been mostly based on a command and control approach — keep emotions in check, mistakes/failure are not options, don't show your vulnerability, be strong and in control at all times, be directive, etc. For women, the pressure has been intense on them to fit that model, often at the expense of their true nature.

Lately, however, we are seeing a shift in what is required of leaders in these rapidly changing times. The shift, in my opinion, is happening not only at the physical level, but also at the level of our collective consciousness. It is no longer sustainable, nor as valued or recognized, to lead in a purely one-dimensional manner.

Let's explore notions of leadership from different perspectives. If we consider the "doing leader", there are a myriad of books that offer options on different leadership styles, such as servant leader, strategic leader, primal leader, thought leader, etc. This implies that we must "learn" to become leaders from the outside in, based on someone else's external definition of what is appropriate and required. It can become very stereotypical.