Authentic leadership is to become meaningful to your team
Leadership as an answer to the question, As a leader, how do I become meaningful?
In working with horses, I always start from the question:
How do I become meaningful for this horse, in this moment?
Becoming meaningful is a core element of leadership within the herd. Its not about winning or losing, being dominant or subordinate. Its about exploring, about taking initiative and giving direction to initiatives: about powerfully inviting others because of relevant qualities and true togetherness. It makes you a leader, not a boss.
Leadership in a herd is not a top-down issue, nor a fixed position of an individual that forces others to obey. Leadership is based on qualities the herd benefits from, like alertness, sensing the mindset of predators, finding water, being protective in intergroup encounters. The horses that have the qualities that are needed in a certain moment take the initiative. The others can then say yes to this initiative and to the qualities of the horse that is taking that initiative.
Translated to teams, taking up leadership requires that your best hope is to become meaningful. You want to invite the others in the direction you consider to be beneficial for the team, in a way they can say, yes to your initiative and to your qualities.
Some key questions are:
- What are these qualities?
- How do you radiate them?
- How you do arouse the curiosity and the trust that are needed to invite others to say, yes?