The best leaders create space for others to become truly themselves. 9

from book

Think of the CEO whose fearful presence makes employees shrink in their chairs, stop chewing gum, take their feet off the desks. These might be the heroes of Hollywood movies, but what if we’ve outgrown this leadership style? Let’s consider an alternative. What if, rather than inspiring fear, leaders created a space where others on their team could open up and grow?  Just think of the family home, where loving parents create a space in which their children can become fully themselves – where they can try on silly faces, make dumb mistakes and ask endless questions without fear of being cut down and diminished. Or consider the relationship that exists between partners. We allow space for both darkness and light, and trust that our whole irrational, messy selves will be accepted and loved. And sure, it takes a special kind of bravery to create this space in a corporate environment. But by living in this embracing, unsheltered way, we create much more fulfilling, authentic workplaces.  As well as allowing individual members to open up and flourish, the best leaders also allow the group to work as an organic whole. This means corporate leaders who can understand their teams intuitively and with compassion.  In the animal kingdom, we find this kind of leader within a herd of horses. With their specially attuned nervous systems, horses possess an almost supernatural ability to discern things. It seems that they can tell the moods of other horses and their riders – or predict a coming storm.  And this sensitivity is illustrated in the type of leader they choose. They never select the horse that appears to be the smartest, or the strongest, the one that could protect them from wolves, or the one with the showiest mane. Instead, they choose the horse – nearly always a mare – that feels the group best. It’s the one that can calm the herd intuitively, that knows the needs of each horse and can lead them as a whole. In human terms, this type of leadership is a real departure from the competitive, individualistic culture that permeates the corporate world. But perhaps it offers a roadmap by which we can move beyond the toxicity of so many workplaces. Perhaps it’s where the future lies.