Not that long ago, inadvertently, I was involved in a heated debate over power, freedom, and the essence of leadership. My opponent, a senior advisor to the Head of a company employing more people than what some counties call their populations, had a very emotional reaction when I mentioned that freedom is a base condition for leadership.
Immediately, Alex (not his real name) gave me an angry speech about the power that enslaves leaders, who no longer are FREE to act in accordance with their own will, because if they do, they lose power, control, and sometimes their life almost by default. I certainly respect his opinion and understand where it comes from – centuries of violent world history behind ego-dominated leadership.
I should have been more precise with my terminology because freedom is the base for Transformational or Authentic leadership, not what is been historically called ‘leadership’.
So, where does that freedom come from? and Is it given or taken?
It comes from within, easily claimed, at your fingertips, and based on three powers:
- Conscious awareness
- Being at choice
- Responsibility for the outcomes of your decisions
Conscious awareness – knowing what you do and more importantly why you are doing something. It is easier to experience than intellectually comprehend, so here’s my coach request to you:
- Tomorrow, when you wake up take inventory of your day in 15 min. increments. What are you doing? Write it down. No judgment, no explanation, just name the activity.
- The following day, look at your list. Next to each activity write down the reason and desired outcome for each one. Don’t try to make things up if you don’t know, just write, ‘I don’t know.’
- Ask yourself, ‘What makes me do something if I don’t know the reason behind my actions?’ and ‘What will I get as a result of doing X if I don’t know my desired outcome(what I want as a result)?’
- Ask yourself, ‘Who benefits from me doing X?’
- Ask yourself, ‘What would I do differently when doing X to get the result that I want?’
- Don’t try to do this analysis for your entire day in one sitting. Be kind to yourself. Even if you chose to analyze just one activity with this level of detail, you will be able to develop a valuable skill that you can apply to all your actions and behaviors later and build a successful habit of conscious awareness.
Next time we will look at the power of ‘being at choice’, till then, I’d be delighted to hear what you’ve discovered in this exploration and what you’ve committed to changing in your day or perhaps, life.
This entry is a collaboration of Sonia Belovania