Sometimes when I’m talking to people about leadership courses they ask whether they’ll learn about leadership styles like charismatic, authoritative etc. I know about those things, in fact, I’ve even got texts that discuss those things in quite a lot of detail.
Today we ran a workshop on authentic leadership for a group of managers who knew each other well. This group works with young people. We started off quite late but, hey, it’s Monday and who’s in a hurry. We started off talking about what leadership is about. This was a group of self-aware, switched on managers who knew about trust, disclosure and being vulnerable. After that we hardly mentioned the word leadership.
At the end of the day, I asked if they’d noticed that we hadn’t mentioned leadership much. They agreed but they then talked about all the important facets of authenticity and leadership that we had canvassed. One of the managers talked about diversity – not just accepting diversity – but embracing it as part of an individual’s whole being. Others talked about enjoying their own preferences, having followers because you’re real and personal leadership. It felt humble, yet strong at the end of the day.
So, is there a place for labels of leadership? You be the judge, but I reckon we are what we are and that’s the place to start. I’ve said that many times I know, but when you get a group like we had today it really brings it home. Straight-up, real, embracing and lovin’ diversity and all that it brings to their group. And wanting more.
People starting out on their leadership journey often start with the labels. That’s natural. As leaders we can do so much for those starting out on their leadership journey by modelling our authenticity rather then worrying about labels and styles. I reckon the young people this group looks after are very fortunate. And so was I today. Without hardly even mentioning that word leadership.