Black Lives Matter
Black lives matter.
These 3 words speak volumes and are the deep truth. I believe that we’ve all, consciously and unconsciously, co-created the challenges we are facing here in the USA (and worldwide for that matter). And I also believe that together, we can and will co-create a positive solution.
I believe that everyone is a leader, because everyone has impact. And, I believe in my bones that we are all co-creators of everything in our world. Our words, our thoughts, our actions, our lack of actions, our silence, our meditations and prayers, our emotions, etc., all add up and are part of our collective consciousness, unconsciousness and our collective impact.
One of the modalities that touches me deeply and I find myself leaning into right now is through my work with the Co-Active Training Institute and their book, Co-Active Leadership. Their five-dimensional leadership philosophy, which harnesses the power of many, rather than relying on the power of one. We are all leaders, and we all can, and should, show up differently and more intentionally. This model and philosophy is fluid, flexible, and allows the roles we play to shift to serve best the situation and move us toward the greater outcome we are aligned around. And I know if you are reading this, I dare say we are aligned.
Here are the 5 dimensions of Co-Active Leadership:
The Co-Active Leader Within
This is the inner work of our own unconsciousness, our biases, our blind spots, issues that we bring to the table, our prejudices, judgments, our emotions and fears. This points each of us to do more inner life work. I am reminded of the core concept that my outer life is always reflection of my inner life; therefore, from this perspective, this inner work is never done.
The Co-Active Leader in Front
Being a leader and visionary who knows a better direction to go, and dares to point people in that direction with a clear vision and an open heart. The peaceful protestors are an amazing model of this dimension.
The Co-Active Leader from the Field
This is about being a voice that speaks what we see from where we sit. Perhaps this is our intuition; maybe it’s a personal perspective or story that needs naming; and sometimes it’s naming what you hear, see and feel and simply sharing it, with zero attachment to it being right. The intention here is to be of service to the movement that is at hand. And many times, this is a place to ask questions to learn and understand.
The Co-Active Leader from the Side
Here, one looks to see if you desire to become a co-leader. This leans into the concept that
1+1 = infinity/infinite choices. This is about being in it with another person 100%/100%.
The Co-Active Leader from Behind
Here one is a total champion of someone else’s good work and cause. You align with what they are up to, yet the cause is not your fight to fight. Choices from here include being a great coach, champion, contributor for a period of time, and giving money to the cause. This post is an example of this dimension.
My intention with sharing the above is to show that there are many dimensions to a being leader. Remember, you are always leading, because you are always impacting. When you see yourself as a leader with these dimensions as a choice, it has you feel that we are a part of a better future.
How should you grow yourself, and your own leadership? It’s up to you to decide how, where and when to participate. Believe me, that has been the big question I have been in for the past 12 days.
Here’s what I know now: I do not get to be confused here and use being confused any longer as an excuse for not being a part of this uncomfortable and difficult conversation. I am choosing commitment over confusion. Here is what I am committing to using the five dimensions (sometimes it is helpful to have an answer for yourself from each dimension):
The Leader Within:
I will be investing in more professional support/training/teaching to identify my own personal prejudices, blind spots, biases, and “not understandings.” This will include understanding the language being used today so I support the movement in a more aligned manner.
Leader from the Front:
In this race conversation, I am not currently a leader from the front. I am open to being led, trained, taught, feed-backed. However, I am a leader in front with my own responsibility to learn; this is no one else’s job but mine.
Leader from the Field:
I will share what I see, and I will do my best to not be attached in anyway. I will be “a” voice, not “the” voice.
Leader from the Side:
Here is my truth from this dimension: currently, I will not co-lead the many needed conversations until I have listened, learned, studied and reflected… and will be thoughtful and prayerful about when it might be time for me to be co-leader.
Leader from Behind:
I will be a major champion of other people’s good work with this topic… referring, underlining, and sharing (not always on social media).
My attempt here is to point ourselves – and myself – to do/be something better. And to underline that it doesn’t have to look the same for everyone.
Our leadership expression for what is going on in our world is constantly morphing and changing and calls for different choices each and everyday… this may include attending a protest, posting on social media, taking a class, meditating, blogging or ranting, calling people out on our blind-spots, coaching someone, listening to someone, walking quietly in nature and breathing deep cleansing breathes, painting the streets of DC or reading a book related to this topic, bringing more awareness to our current work in the world, calling a friend and talking about all of this… or… or… whatever you do, it’s your leadership expression and it’s needed.
Can I do better? The answer will always be yes. And let me be really clear… I will. And I will stumble… and then I will recover… and then I will ask for help… and then I will provide some help… and repeat… repeat… repeat!
And of the many hundreds of posts and videos I watched this week, one that gave me solace and pointed me in a clearer direction was from a colleague, mentor and friend of mine, Jeanne Esti. She said, ”My job right now is to listen better, to learn more and to love deeper!” I say amen to that!
For the past 25 years my passionate work has been to activate, support and “make real” people’s Bigger Game in life. These past two weeks we have seen the impact of strong leadership and felt the pain of its lack. I write this post today with awe, hope and with much gratitude.
And I would be remiss to not ask you… what is the dimension of leadership that you are called to step in to this coming week? What are your commitments… because confusion is not an option any longer.
Black Lives Matter. George Floyd Matters.
More to come.
Great picture, great post Rick. Thank you for responding to this call that is (and has been) in the Field for more than 400+ years.
I love not only how you share context of how the Co-Active leadership dimensions show up in today’s climate and fight for racial and social justice, but what moved me most was looking how you apply them to your own walk as an ally to this cause. That was very powerful. Each one of us should be called to step into this with such excitement (fear/caution/other feelings welcome too!).
I also want to call you forth, with love, as I do believe you have a more Leader in Front/Beside role to play that WILL serve others. In certain communities, you taking a stand for what you know (and you’ve often seen the powerful impact of revealing, as leaders, when we DONT know) will have a tremendous impact on those leaders. You pointing forward with a Vision (as you do here) and call us forward (as you do here) is a perfect example of that.
For a group of leaders to see you, in all the identities you claim, Leading in Front this way calls them forward. Again, as you so beautifully state, not as THE voice but A voice. It will call others forward too. Again, you may do this in certain environments and listen more in others. But I do believe there is a space here for you to access those dimensions of leadership actively as well.
Thank you for your words, I’m looking forward to sharing these insights and building upon them.
Edwin— thank you for your words above co-leader friend. I would welcome more discussion with where you are pointing me…. I need help as to how and where I do whatever it is you are suggesting I do. Willing to be pointed….. best- Rick T.
I’m leading by starting conversations- with a black acquaintance, with my white siblings (we have never talked about race), and with my white neighbors. It’s a start.