The Essence of Leadership
“Come to the edge,” he said. They said, “We are afraid.” “Come to the edge,” he said. They came. He pushed them. And they flew.
– Guillaume Apollinaire
Sometime ago I got interviewed and the interviewer asked me about what I think is the essence of leadership. This was my answer:
“What matters to me most is creating new spaces, new contexts of possibility for people and organizations. The thing that most lights me up is when I am working with somebody and they really want to see something happen, but they just don’t know how to make that happen. I see my job as executive coach to work with people, to expand space to make it possible for them. When they see no pathway, and at the end of the conversation a whole new world has opened up to them, with whole new passages to take and whole new futures to create.”
In my opinion this should be true for anyone who wants to lead. You don’t need a title to lead; when you help people see possibilities for themselves you are a leader. When you’re able to have a person who’s stuck see new possibilities, new options, new ways you are a leader.