To say that leadership can be about community almost feels too soft, doesn't it? After all, leaders are the lone wolves, seeing the way and guiding lesser mortals into it. What if it’s true that our leadership is most scaleable and has its greatest effect when we think in terms of the system instead of the project? Much is said about community but not all of it to the essence of what forms one. Often “community” refers more to groups with which we have some affinity as opposed to a source that nourishes and sustains our living.
If seeing community only as a place of connections makes the community less, then it likewise lessens our leadership too. Community and our leadership within it is deeper than who you know or what ideology you agree with.
I think some of that depth can be found in the wisdom literature that requires respect for others. These powerful commands underscore that community cannot flourish where there is neglect and form what appears as an obligation to acknowledge people and in that acknowledgement communicate their worth.
So if we acknowledge people then were good leaders? There are multiple examples of leaders acknowledging people then committing an atrocity against them so simply counting heads isn’t what’s in view.
What is, however, is that in taking seriously the obligation to see that our leadership arises from and functions within community, that we value humans as more than a collection of skills we’re to marshal for accomplishment.
The Ancients held that every person had two inalienable rights: the right to be considered capable and the right to be considered lovable. The first was demonstrated by affording opportunity and the second by being present with them.
It is these two affirmations that every human is most in need of and that the obligation to lead the community deals with. If our leadership is to be anything it must be the purposeful commitment that those in our charge are better for it.
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