There is nothing more empowering than when someone believes in you and the integrity of this person tells you it’s true.
In the same way when people communicate that they don’t believe in you, it is discouraging and dishonoring. An interesting point is that integrity then doesn’t become so important.
I have had leaders that empower me. My childhood pastor, for example, gave the green light to lead a team to Romania when I was only 18 years old and had no experience. That set the tone for much of my adult live. His integrity made me safe and I grew.
I also experience when people don’t believe in you. Once I had a leader that told me I was unqualified for what I was doing. I had disagreed with this person in his way of leading and his one-man-band leadership but still it was interesting to stand in front of someone who directly told me he did not believe in me. Why?! What have I done? I felt my integrity was in place, I had walked the path and lived what I stood for.
These two, and many other experiences, lead me to process what is needed for an embracing and releasing leadership.
– insecure leaders will struggle with embracing other people and see only danger in releasing other leaders. Anybody they do release must be of no threat and the whole organization is weakened by fear of leadership. How are you and how is your inner being?
No facades – one of the people I trust the most is a well-known pastor that silently told me “I only read the Bible to get a new sermon out of it, not for my own life”. I know that person is real. He was human! In the same time I met a lady in a Walmart (a big store in the USA), feeling a bit lost as a foreigner, but she asked me how I was doing. Well I started off telling her about my bad night’s sleep, an ache in my neck but otherwise I was great, thanks for asking! She couldn’t care less about me and it was just a performance. Do you care for the people coming your way?
Risk – there is always a risk involved, people are messy and they can mess it up! Do you take the risk and are you willing to clean up without blaming them?
Leaders lead – dictators dictate and control. This is a major point, what is the difference? Look around you. How are you leading? I mean have you drawn people to you? If there aren’t others, or there are but they have their own agenda for being there, or simply they are there because they are required to be, make sure you evaluate.
The fruit of his ministry was visible. This spoke trust and I knew that he was with me.
Still there is one aspect I have not brought up, integrity. The person that empowered me had actions to back up his words, had taken risks before and failed and succeeded. The fruit of his ministry was visible. This spoke trust and I knew that he was with me.
The person that disqualified me had little to no experience in the field where he proclaimed that I was unqualified in. Still it was hard to make this difference in my mind. The one speaking releasing words and follow up with action and the one speaking negative words and little real action. The first one is energizing me, giving room for vision and more people. The last one stealing time and energy, trying to stop vision and passion from developing. Most people would give up here, be discouraged and the power abuse can damage people. But at the end of the day I looked at the integrity and told myself this person should do first then speak, show proficiency and then come to me and we can take a cup of coffee.
Some cultures are high ‘outward appearance’ cultures like the mother land of Walmart, other nations are understating. Not long ago I met a lady who talked like she was only volunteering with an organization and appeared of little position. I was glad I had some understanding of her culture and understood that there was more to her than the first impression. As it turns out, she was the leader, the woman with the power.
I am always cautious when I have the Walmarters in front of me and especially those that tell me that they have climbed Mount Everest. If things are too good to be true they often are.
Question: How was the view?
Question: How was it to climb with oxygen tanks?
Answer: We really didn’t get that far…
The end of the story is that you have not claimed mount Everest, just because you crossed the border to Nepal.
Leaders who release are secure enough that they don’t need to put on a performance, secure enough to be wrong and fail and secure enough not to need to look good in the eyes of others.
Secure leaders always have a team of leaders around them, people that dare to be human and honest people that walk the talk and can be tough enough to speak against the status quo.
Until next time, embrace and release