Have to admit, there was a time when it was an aspiration of mine.
However, I have shifted. I’m not all that interested in thought leadership. I am much more inspired and interested in relational leadership.
Even up at the Haven, over the years I know there’s been a desire to make Haven a thought leadership center.
Maybe that was the mission at one point of the founders, Ben Wong and Jock Mckeen. Likely they were thought leaders. But more than anything else I think they were relational leaders!
I actually believe at the core that is where The Haven shines!
I know when I arrived at The Haven I did not really have a clue what it meant to be relational. I had spent most of my life defended and surviving.
Now I don’t want to be too harsh with myself about that. I had come up with some pretty creative ways to make my way in the world through some rocky, challenging times. I didn’t have a clue just how guarded and protected I had become.
My walls and armour started cracking during my first Come Alive. I was in awe of what I witnessed. The compassion, the vulnerability the curiosity that I saw offered to each person in our circle was truly moving.
I would say without judgement – but that’s not true. What Haven offered as a path for opening was sharing the judgements. Sharing the judging and the storymaking as a way of letting someone else know how I put the world together. Judgements were not bad, judgements were simply stories worth checking out and using as a bridge to reveal how each of us put our reality together.
The key was a willingness to own my story-making and be curious in sharing with another to see if they agreed or disagreed.
That shift was hugh for me. I could be curious and get feedback. Sometimes I would and still do get feedback that I hurt myself. However, I have realized the feedback is like a location device. Instead of taking it all so personally, I allow myself to take the information as though someone was telling me realtime where they were with me – liking, disliking, distant/close – warm or cold. I also gst this is a path where I could also locate myself with them.
You see to me, this is relational leadership at it’s best. Locating ourselves with each other – openly, honestly and with curiosity.
Over the years now I have come too discover that these relational tools are not thought -based, these tools, with breath, attention and awarenes, are spiritual and embodied!
When I reveal where I really am in the world – my location- without having to prove me, defend me or fight to be me – that is incrediably vulnerable, real and very relational.
So that’s why I think thought-leadership is overrated – what we need today is more relational leadership. Leading that is built around honesty, vulunability, curiosity and compassion. Now that takes courage and frankly I believe a lot harder than just thinking of new ideas.
Truth is, leadership is all about relationships!
Try on sharing your judgements as a path of vulnerability and location setting. Get curious about how your inner story-telling comes to be. Get curious about how someone’s else might be putting those pieces together very differently.
Get curious about really relating!