If there ever was a time for powerful leadership – it’s now.
Each us needs to show up as the leader we are. There are serious challenges facing us – and we need to work together – in trusted partnership – to deal with them. The time of the lone wolf is over. The lambs are looking to us for inspiration …. trusting us to save them from slaughter..
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- Who would be a leader in today’s hungry world?
- Not all leaders lead from the front.
- Partnership is the new leadership
- Trust the Visionary Leaders to inspire what’s possible.
About Eileen Forrestal:
Eileen Forrestal, MB BCh BAO FFARCSI, a retired Anaesthesiologist living in Ireland, is co- founder of Get Up and Go Publications Ltd producing the ‘world’s best loved inspirational diary’. Author of The Courage To Shine, Eileen is now committed to a bigger vision – that of contributing to healing the suffering in the world through words that make a difference –words written and spoken with love, courage and authenticity that inspire, motivate, encourage and empower.
Having spent many years ‘silenced’ by the embarrassment of a speech impediment, hiding in the background of her life, ironically putting ‘people to sleep’ as an Anaesthesiologist, Eileen is now at work ‘waking people up’ to the power of their own words – their authentic self expression – trusting that healing words have the power to positively impact personal, societal and global health and wellbeing.
Eileen, the author of The Courage To Shine – Find Your Voice and Discover the Healing Power of Your Words, is now an author, speaker, coach and mentor, who uses her experience, insight and words of wisdom to inspire positive contribution in the world.
Contacting Eileen Forrestal:
You can follow Eileen on Twitter, connect with her on LinkedIn and Facebook or see her work on Eileen Forrestal.com
By Eileen Forrestal
Leadership is the buzz word on everyone’s lips in the world today.
People talking about leadership, asking about leadership, learning about leadership, reading about leadership, complaining about leadership, wondering about leadership, listening to people talking about leadership, admiring the leadership,
We are busy seeking and nominating and electing and interviewing … and quickly proceed to judge, to blame, to criticise interrogate, argue with, hector and bemoan our lot and withdraw our support.
And seek another leader.
Who are these ideal leaders we seek?
And who, their right mind, would be a leader in today’s world??!!
What is required for leadership?
How do we choose or recognise a leader?
Why do we follow them, and do we need them?
Leaders imply followers.
Leaders are people – just like you and me.
On the ship, the leaders are steering.
Followers are people – just like you and me.
The followers on the ship are depending on the leaders to take them to where they want to go, safely.
The ship’s captain is trusting the people not to mutiny so they can safely get to their destination.
A leader must be able to ‘see’ the destination, and articulate it clearly and confidently – such that others (blindly) follow, trusting what they hear/see is the truth.
That requires truth and trust.
And therin lies the core leadership issue of the 21st Century.
What is the truth and who do you trust?
Some leaders are willing to say ‘I know where we’re going. Follow me. I will get you there. Trust me’.
It’s a big statement. It makes a bold promise, and you don’t know for sure if they believe you.
It’s a big ask. You speak with confidence.
And they say ‘ok’.
What you don’t say is “I know where I want to go but I’m not sure how to get there by myself. I will need your help”.
That uncertainty would leave room for doubt … and fear … and remains unsaid.
You may have leadership thrust upon you. You might accept an invitation or a nomination or a request.
You bravely say “ok”.
And they say “I will follow you, I promise”…
What they don’t say is “unless or until ……….”
That would leave you with doubt .. and fear … and that remains unsaid.
Most people are reluctant to declare themselves as leaders. They know the dangers.
They have seen lambs thrown to the slaughter!
They sit in silence, observing … spectators … wondering how the games will go.
So there you are.
A leader. Leading from the front.
With people who promise to follow you …
While doubt and fear lurk in the background ….
The person who is willing to say “I can and I will”, and is willing to honour that, to play full out and be held to account for saying it, is a courageous person.
For all of us doubt and fear are our constant companions.
What if you fail to deliver?
Perhaps it seems easier to say ‘we’. We can win this election; we can win this war; we can win this contract. With your support we can win.
The leader is the person who inspires the fellows on the ship … to trust and collaborate.
The supporter is critical to the win.
All games worth winning are team games with lots of supporters.
We rely on our supporters for our leadership to win … or it will be short lived.
Yes, others are waiting for us to ‘succeed’ or to ‘fail’.
Either way, it’s the players who get to play the game.
What we need now are people who play the bigger games, who speak for bigger visions that we can all share. We must be willing to walk beside them, not as followers but in fellowship, falling into step on the path we are creating, towards the destination we share.
All leaders are eventually toppled.
Leaders set themselves up (or are set up by others) for a fall.
They messed up, the army lost, their followers deserted you, the crew mutinied.
It was their followers who sold out on them.
Or maybe they sold out on themselves?
Maybe they lost sight of their vision?
Maybe they got scared.
Doubt and fear crept in ..
Leadership takes trust and courage. Big ships need strong leaders.
But you cannot steer a big ship by yourself. You need partners. You need encouragers. You need cheerleaders. You need people who see what you see. You need people who trust you.
You need to trust your team, your fellow players. You need to trust yourself.
People want leaders who will say ‘It’s fine, come on, drink the water. Trust me.’
The magic words: Trust me.
Followers are fickle. Frightened by vulnerability and uncertainty, Followers seek safety in numbers and trust the crowd. On our own, we doubt ourselves. When things go wrong, there’s must be someone at the front to blame. We run with pack. We don’t confess we weren’t looking.
In this age of unfettered communication, what do we believe and who do we trust?
We could start by trusting ourselves, and trust there is power and strength in numbers.
“Ní neart go cur le chéile”.
Trust your vision. Align with your community.
It takes courage to trust yourself to say “I can and I will”.
It takes courage to share your vision and to trust others will support you in realising it. Having a big vision, allowing yourself to mess up, bravely getting up and going again, without losing sight of the vision, is part of the process of becoming a great leader, who will be known by the longevity of their followership.
In the words of Lau Tzu: Without a vision, the people will perish.
We are at a critical time in history. There are existential challenges and the future is more uncertain than ever.
Children are the future.
Children need adults to lead them. The adult-child relationship grants it leadership and stewardship. We must take the reins. We must make bold promises that will be a guiding light to their future. We cannot stay cowering in the shadows or sitting on the fence. The time has come. We must lead each other out of the prison of doubt and fear. When we take the brave steps the lambs will follow. That is when we will recognise ourselves as leaders – trusting partners in an adult world – as we spare our lambs from the slaughter and lead them to the promised land.
Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.