Central Europe needs a wake up call!

I am at my home in Constanta, the kids are playing upstairs and my lovely wife is preparing dinner. I have a moment to myself and some time to process. I am just back from a 10 day trip to the Balkan area, an area I know pretty well and it’s a wonderful part of Europe.

“Central Europe needs a wake up call”, is a strong statement on a rainy day like this, but maybe it is true..

How are we doing as a movement? A good friend of mine from another organisation working on the Balkans is always referring to the “field”, something that drives me crazy. This field is what I call home, this field is where I live. These people are not people on a field, no, they are my people. It shows some of the thinking about our region, or when people say I would love to come OUT to you and visit you. Well, people like that never come if they don’t need to and, secondly, I do not live ‘out there’ somewhere. I live at my lovely home, and my home is not at the end of the world, even though it’s the end of the region. The question that comes to my mind is “How do we look at our people and region, as a field or as force?”

In general, how do we look at the people we serve? This will determine how we lead. Are we serving or are we demanding? Are we to be served or are we servant leaders? Do we love our people or are we just carrying a title or a role? Tom Marshall wrote in his book;

You cannot lead people you don’t know.

When we release young people we get a movement, when we don’t we get a dying organisation. My role as a leader is first of all to release people, to empower them to fulfill their vision.

I find myself often thinking differently than my surroundings. We do team leadership, meaning a team of leaders, not a leader with a support team. I think young leaders need to be supported by leaders that have walked a similar walk. I don’t believe in a one man show, no, I believe in teams! I often speak against the norms of the society we live in. This challenges people. We need to process. Young people need to be a part of leadership and shaping the future of our movement.

Steve Jobs’ famous quote describes it well:

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who sees things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

Are you a black sheep? I love black sheep, if they are black because of their new ideas and way of thinking, not because of lack of character or integrity. But misfits and rebels attract my Viking spirit and Central Europe needs them and we have them. Do we dare to love them, take them with us and release them? Real leaders do, those that are secure in who they are and what they lead. But for leaders that are afraid of losing their position, their insecurity will silence the youth, lock them up and oversee them.

There are leaders that will play it safe, but I don’t want to be safe. Let’s make it real, let wake up and start changing this part of the world.

Change happens, we can look at it or we can do it. Please be a part of doing it!

Til next time, see you around black sheep,

Rune Sæther


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