Tonight, as I sit to write, I am thinking about leadership. I have had the chance to reflect on this theme often this week, numerous times and in various ways. Sometimes, my own leadership has been the center of exploration by my own choice, or by someone else’s suggestion. At other times, it has been my observation of leadership in those I know, and those I mentor.
My thoughts are swirling tonight after a day where I have shifted gears many times. And, I know I need to stop and be still to fully take in all that this day has offered for my journey. Everything about this day, though, brings me back to reflect on authentic qualities of leadership. I see this reflected especially tonight in the two women I have had the honor to work with on their journey through the doctoral program and into new chapters of their own professional leadership.
So, I am closing my computer tonight to seek stillness after sharing these words from John O’Donohue. I dedicate this to Mariette and to Beth-ann on the occasion of their successfully defended dissertations. This is a blessing for their journey, and my desire for all of us who lead in ways great and small:
For a Leader
May you have the grace and wisdom
To act kindly, learning
To distinguish between what is
Personal and what is not.
May you be hospitable to criticism.
May you never put yourself at the center of things.
May you act not from arrogance but out of service.
May you work on yourself,
Building up and refining the ways of your mind.
May those who work for you know
You see and respect them.
May you learn to cultivate the art of presence
In order to engage with those who meet you.
When someone fails or disappoints you,
May the graciousness with which you engage
Be their stairway to renewal and refinement.
May you treasure the gifts of the mind
Through reading and creative thinking
So that you continue as a servant of the frontier
Where the new will draw its enrichment from the old,
And may you never become a functionary.
May you know the wisdom of deep listening,
The healing of wholesome words,
The encouragement of the appreciative gaze,
The decorum of held dignity,
The springtime edge of the bleak question.
May you have a mind that loves frontiers
So that you can evoke the bright fields
That lie beyond the view of the regular eye.
May you have good friends
To mirror your blind spots.
May leadership be for you
A true adventure of growth.