When our elected leaders’ actions fail to inspire us, wherever we live in the world, it’s far easier to unconsciously cast a new vote against them by refusing to engage with life. We withdraw and retreat in protest.
But what would happen if we instead allowed current circumstances to rekindle the fire of our inspiration? If we saw them as a call to arms to find our own leadership and dream anew?
Indeed, so much of true leadership is vision and dreaming. It’s not a well-crafted mission statement that gathers dust on the boardroom wall. No, it’s a living, breathing, challenging call to arms. We’re going to put a man on the moon. We’re going to make the perfect iPod. We’re going to dare to dream — and to dream wildly.
For years and years, we have been told to play it safe, work hard, stick with what’s possible. Neither a lender nor a borrower be. Only the foolhardy and courageous have the audacity to dream of a better world.
It’s time to ask: Who do we want to be? Where do we need to stretch? What is our dream for ourselves and for the world? Only when we build that muscle of dreaming for ourselves can we start to dream on behalf of others. This is “leading from the front” in the Co-Active Leadership model.
Leader in front can sound misleadingly familiar. It seems like the old-fashioned goal-setting leadership: “I know where we’re going; follow me.” It might appear like the archaic command-and-control leadership of the 20th century assembly-line economy.
In fact, it is something vastly different. It has the energy of “come with me because I am passionate about where I’m going; and I trust you can be just as passionate about your role in our mission together.” Yes, there is pointing. The leader in front points to the goal. But there is also encouragement and enthusiasm and camaraderie. We are in this together. One arm points to the goal, but the other arm is stretched out behind and beckoning colleagues to join in the fun. That very action of pointing and beckoning makes the leader in front vulnerable. The leader’s arms are spread wide open, and the heart is open. Only by showing that vulnerability and that vision will the leader encourage others to share a common passion.
And then, miracles happen. The leadership becomes a fractal, repeated at different sizes and scales. When a leader in front shows me a vision, then my own internal leader in front can create a vision for my own role that fits into the pattern of the whole.
Dare to dream. Dare to lead. It’s the only way to make big things happen.