What It Means to Be A Leader…As A Man
For Leadership to evolve we must face the limitations of our own conditioning.
Fathers day is a day set aside to honor our fathers. Yet so many boys and girls grow up without a father. When I say “without” I am not simply speaking of fathers who turned their backs to walked away. I am also speaking of fathers who bought the role, the conditioning they were given, and as such became the kind of father who was little more than a warm body in the home. As such we must ask ourselves; can we truly say we are a ‘father” when two-thirds of our being is not present (the emotional and mental)?
Age does not automatically mean we grew up.
To those fathers (and I was one) I want to say: When you walked away, or just didn’t show up, you left behind a child who could not receive all of the vital elements needed to feel whole. Manhood is an alchemy of those elements and circumstances. Without each element a man may only grow older chronologically. He may grow a beard, and his hair may even grey with age, but he will never truly transform into a mature man needed in order to become an authentic leader.
Each of us quietly struggles to truly grow up until we are healed of the savage or subtle wounds inflicted on us by the absent father, even by a father who was just not fully emotionally present.
And so I challenge you as a man, right here, right now to know this; even though you may secretly know that you are indeed missing certain elements, there are elements you have that other men do not. Further to that challenge you can step up in softness and share the elements that you have with other men. Whether those in front of you are boys or old men, allow them to share their elements with you, for they may indeed contain the elements that you are missing.
As a leadership speaker with a background in the family of origin psychology, it’s glaringly obvious to me that we initially learn leadership through the leadership that was modeled for us. So where was leadership initially modeled for us? The answer is illusively obvious: In our families! That leadership (or lack thereof), becomes our model of what was imprinted on us about how leadership should or should not be.
It’s this simple: Children learn leadership from their parents. That leadership is a result of the fact that every day those children are watching and absorbing their primary caregiver’s behavior. We might like to believe that children learn from what we tell them, the truth is that they learn far more by observation. This is particularly true with regard to how we emotionally respond to any given situation. Kids are highly attuned to your emotions, the way you demonstrate and respond to your own and other people’s strong emotions tell kids exactly how to be with these things. This develops or stagnates not only the development of their emotions but also their emotional intelligence with others.
The foundation of becoming a highly effective and emotional Intelligent leader is rooted is our childhood. Having a high level of emotional intelligence is without doubt one of the determiners of how successful we will be in leadership positions.
Be a Feminist…Believe in Men!
Let me say even though “I am a feminist”. Meaning that I, like the Dali Lama believe the world will be transformed by the next generation of women.
However, I want you to know this: I Still Believe In Men!
I believe that men are in truth deeply caring, loving and compassionate. I believe that men are every bit as nurturing and intuitive as women.
This is NOT gay or straight; this is our very nature!
Let me clarify: I do NOT believe in the conditioning of men! Men have been trained for generations to believe that we are emotionally incapable, and sadly men in general have gone along with this, and I believe that is total nonsense!
However, it should be noted that all this is what I believe, it is my truth, not ‘the truth”. I would love to know if this is a truth that resonates with you, or if you have a different truth…tell me.
Leadership is Fathering
Nonetheless, I hold it as true because; I believe in men. And when I die one of the things I pray people will say about me is that I was more than a leader, a speaker, an author or any other official title. I hope that they will say “I was a father to men”
If you want to be a better leader take a look at the original model of leadership you received, and decide that great leadership like great parenting is modeled.
Real leadership, most of all authentic leadership requires that we break through the conditioning we have taken on as true, and find our own truth.
Happy Father’s Day to the men and women who stepped up when another man walked away.
I trust that you found this article valuable, if so, if you believe this is an important message feel free to send this to your friends! I eagerly anticipate your feedback and comments.
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Dov Baron Speaks internationally and is The Leading Authority on Authentic Leadership and creating a Corporate Culture of Fiercely Loyal Leaders. In 2014 he was sighted as one of the Top 100 Leadership Speaker to book for your next conference!
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