No matter what political party you belong to, no matter what presidential candidate you voted for, and no matter what your political views are, the events of last week (the storming, breaching, and ransacking of the U.S. Capitol) were both sad and alarming. Since then, I have reflected on what happened through several different lenses, including the lens of leadership.
The actual event of last week as well as the events that led up to that moment will be a case study in leadership that will be examined for years to come. It also provides a reality check for every leader, or those who want to be leaders. In order to keep this posting brief, let me boil that reality check down to two quotes and two questions…
“A leader is a person who must take special responsibility for what’s going on inside him-or herself, inside his or her consciousness, lest the act of leadership create more harm than good.” – Parker J. Palmer
“Words are events, they do things, change things. They transform both speaker and hearer; they feed energy back and forth and amplify it. They feed understanding or emotion back and forth and amplify it.” – Ursula K. LeGuin
- Have I done, or am I doing, the inner work that is necessary to become a responsible, self-aware leader worth following?
- Do I use my words appropriately and speak only what will encourage and build others up, recognizing that my words have the power to create value, cast vision, and construct a healthy environment?
If you want to be the best leader you can be for your family, friends, workmates, organization, or community, then I encourage you to spend some time intently reflecting on these two quotes and two questions.
Better yet, gather a couple of people you trust who might go through this exercise with you – because the journey of leadership is more rewarding when you bring others along.
Here’s to being better leaders who are “creating” a better world!