Do you recollect your emotions as you stepped out to start the first day of your first job? And the first day of the subsequent jobs you went on to take?
I can now earn, I said, in the case of my first job (and earn better, in the case of my subsequent jobs). And I want to make a difference.
Agreed, said most, if not almost all, when I posed them this question (whew! I am not a freak!). Which really means this. People come with an intrinsic motivation at the beginning of any new assignment. There is a ‘looking forward’ to, there is a ‘wanting to’ and there is a ‘willing to’ attitude.
And so, it is not motivation that we look to our leaders for. At least, not in the beginning, and not as long as we have it. We look up to them for inspiration. We look to them for a leadership of possibilities, so that we can continue to motivate ourselves.
And we too become managers and leaders. Do we then remember this truth? Do we step beyond mere projections and analyses to invoke the passion in our members to motivate themselves? Do we increase for them, their return on their emotional equity? So that they feel enthused to commit to something else other than the success of their own careers?
Today, the transience of the market place brings home the truth that it is anything but business as usual. The past is no indication of the future – it never was, for any breakthrough thoughts or actions, and it will continue not to be. What was not even imagined yesterday descends on us with impunity to create both success and failure. Step aside, replication, and make way for innovation. An innovation that allows my members to draw the future to the present, not constrain them to move forward only from the past.
Let us get back to the leadership of hope.
Do we have the courage of conviction to mesh inspired possibilities into the anchor of reality without grounding it to inaction? True reality is not misplaced or dreamy optimism for sure. But neither is it the illusory safety net of past predictors for future success. A leadership of hope first dares to see reality through its own eyes (and not through any other lens) and then search for accuracy.
Courage then moves from one of conviction to one of resilience. Do we have the tenacity to believe in what we see? To use the power of projections not merely to predict, but imagine too? To paint the canvas with a vision that keeps our members’ enthusiasm and motivation high without sacrificing them at the altar of meaningless competitiveness, internal and external?
And finally to the courage of charisma. Do we radiate the inner charisma that transfers our beliefs to our members? Not to direct them, but to inspire them to move higher, to resonate with their dreams of making a difference. Such charisma should help them move from the banalities of ‘change is good’ and ‘embrace change’ to a higher calling. One that has a cause and purpose and brings with it elements of change that they volunteer to.
Oops! Does that move leadership uncomfortably from the structures of science to the waves of art? But why not? Science and art were not meant to be incompatible, were they? If, by doing so, business can influence and leadership can inspire to add the skills of creative improvisation, maybe the twain can meet between hope and reality.