A Call to Intentional Leadership

Published in Womeninc, February/March 2006

by Diana Gabriel

This is a good time to check in on how each of you are doing living from the perspective of curiosity and possibility. What have you noticed when you approach life this way? How has it made a difference? How have others responded to you?

In considering these questions, think also about how you view yourself as a leader. Do you even see yourself as a leader? I believe that each of you are leaders, not by the positions you hold, but rather by how you influence those around you.

Leadership can be both formal and informal; what is most important is who you are and how you show up each and every day, with everyone you meet. How you are in relationship with others can be very powerful. Leaders are individuals who are able to win the hearts and minds of those they want to influence by engendering trust and operating from a base of honesty, consistency, integrity, authenticity and vision. Leadership is about intentional influence, guiding, structuring and facilitating activities. It is about how you are in relationship with others individually and in groups or organizations.

Women have many natural gifts that lend themselves to leadership. We are good at team-building and collaborating by encouraging participation. We are more inclined to be facilitative when leading groups, which leads to the empowerment of others. Open communication seems to come more naturally to women as a result of focusing on relationships, which encourages feedback and sharing of information and power. We often do not recognize ourselves as equipped or educated enough to call ourselves leaders, when the fact is our natural way of being offers us the possibility to inspire others when we embrace ourselves as leaders. (when the fact is our natural way of being encourages us to be wonderful leaders.)

There is great opportunity in our daily lives to lead by example, simply by demonstrating the attitude and behaviors we hold toward ourselves as well as others. If you think about how you are with those you come in contact with every day (i.e. your partner, children, co-workers, service workers) you might discover that are aleader every day.(that you have the opportunity to act as a leader every day.)

The challenge for each of us is to live integrity-based, value-focused lives, which will allow us to be a leader who consistently demonstrates the ability to do the right thing.

How do we work toward putting that in place? Think about the following:

  • What do you stand for?
  • What is unique about you? How do you stand out? How do you capitalize on your uniqueness? Or how do you hide it?
  • How often do you have the courage to tell the truth? Can you take the heat for an unpopular decision?
  • How open and personal are you with others? Do you let them see the real you, or just parts of you?
  • How often do you “play the role” or “go on automatic pilot” in your work?
  • What keeps you from telling the truth to yourself and others?

These are important questions as we explore leadership in our lives. Consider also this passage from A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of a Course in Miracles (Harper Collins, 1992). May you be inspired to claim yourself as a leader and be mindful of how you show up in relationship with others.
Our Deepest Fear

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. ~ Marianne Williamson

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