Today, in a graduate class I am teaching called Integrated Leadership which has become more like a critical friends group. We talked about living in integrity, and authenticity, what is needed for transformational leadership to happen and how we do that.
We worked through the idea of naming what is happening, to expose ugly truths when it's needed and to in the words of Brene Brown, "don't shrink, don't puff up, stand your sacred ground".
Right now we are desperately in need of leadership of the everyday and the transformative kind. I like to use a phrase called "situational leadership," meaning that we all find ourselves in leadership situations if not daily then almost daily, in other words, everyday leadership. Let me explain.
Suppose you are out with a loved one having dinner at a nice restaurant, in a quiet atmosphere. At the table, next to you is an infant who is crying and making a lot of noise. In that moment you have some choices, you can choose to roll your eyes, get annoyed and make it known or you can smile at the baby and get on with your dinner. Of course, there are other choices, but you get the gist.
The idea here is that others in the restaurant may take their cues from you. Sure everyone has free will, but research shows that people are likely to respond in a similar way as the individual closest to the situation has responded.
That aside and more importantly is that we find ourselves in leadership situations often, especially if we spend any time on social media. I don't need to tell you about what is happening in the world since you already know.
We all have to decide whether we want to embrace the leadership situations we find ourselves in, to decide whether to live in integrity and authenticity, to act in a way that truly lines up with who we are and what we know deep in our souls.
And so here on social media, in your words, in your actions, in your everyday life, your leadership is critical. I think we all have to ask ourselves whether the things we are posting, saying, doing are really in line with who we are, and what we know.
To take recent examples I have viewed memes on social media that have tag lines like "they can only protest because they don't have jobs", "only criminals protest criminals getting shot", and others aimed at refuting actual evidence with false evidence that perpetuate known falsehoods.
The question then becomes whether furthering these sorts of ideas line up with who we are? Whether this is how we live in integrity, and authenticity, whether in the moments that we can lead that this is how we want to do it?
If you're convinced that your leadership moments should be taken up with floating the idea that only people without jobs protest, or that the only people concerned over citizens being shot by police are criminals then by all means use your time in that way.
If floating these ideas and ones like them are not really who you are, is not you living in integrity, and authenticity. Then consider using your leadership moments to "stand your sacred ground," to act, speak and share in a way that honors, and values who you are and what you know to be true.
Your leadership in those moments, those everyday moments that sometimes we forget are important, have the power to be transformative.