Leadership isn’t about having power over others.
It’s about giving people the freedom to be themselves.
Inviting them to discover pieces of themselves that were lost or undernurtured, encouraging them to exploit talents they might never exercise anywhere else, allowing them to show off the luminous parts of their identity that exist beyond personality and inspiring them to become who they always were but had, until then, been afraid to embrace and to live out.
That’s the real power.
You say to people:
You no longer have to fight to be who you want to be. I want to see you exactly as you always are.
Which makes people a bit uncomfortable at first.
And they think to themselves:
Should I sand off all the interesting edges? Should I chase away my shadows? Should I remove my soul before I come inside? Should I keep hidden my most secret compartments?
So you say back to them:
Never. Who you are is not up for public comment. I am not here to prove you wrong in how you live your life.
How often you having those conversations with people?
Emerson once said that being yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment, but I would argue that person who gives others the freedom to be themselves, is equally as accomplished.
Be someone’s permission slip.
Help people become what they are.