Note: The following post also appears on the Contemplative Learning blog:
Through Twitter connections I recently discovered the work of Lolly Daskal, a leadership coach and consultant who emphasizes a heart-based approach to leading teams, organizations, and families. Lolly's philosophy closely matches the contemplative principles that guide our own work at Contemplative Learning Solutions, and we were especially impressed with a recent series of Lolly's tweets all beginning with, "It's okay to say..."
It's okay to say ...
I messed up
I am drowning
I feel ashamed
I feel guilty
I am confused
I am scared
I am mad
I need you
Read the complete list on Lolly's blog.
What appeals to us about Lolly's list is its relentless emphasis on being vulnerable and authentic with one's followers, work partners, loved ones, and especially with one's self. We spend so much time engaged in self-protection, and so many believe that to be an effective leader one must hide his inner feelings, doubts, and motivations. This, to us, seems terribly counter-productive.
Much of our work focuses on the vocation of school administrators. Robert Starrat is a leading thinker in the world of education administration, and his book Ethical Leadership argues that genuine moral leadership embodies three principles: responsibility, presence, and authenticity. Each of these principles is worth a book itself, but we believe the idea of authenticity is most desperately needed in today's schools and organization. The capacity to be real and honest with oneself and others, to be authentically human, holds the promise for genuine renewal of our relationships and organizations.