I have worked with people who seemed to think their authority came from keeping the rest of us in the dark.
They told us only what they thought we needed to know. They withheld information that would have helped us do a better job. I think they expected us to do exactly what they wanted without being distracted by things like leadership vision.
The people who keep us in the dark do not bring out the best in us.
It is difficult for me to do my best work in the dark. There are times when I still get distracted by speculating on what else is out there that I cannot see. There are other times when I start to fall asleep.
The leaders who inspire me turn on the lights.
They do not flood every corner of a project with bright light that hurts my eyes or makes me look away. They do not use candles just because “we have always done it that way.”
Casting light on a particular task or goal is not the focus of their leadership. They are more interested in turning on the lights in me than shining their own lights more widely.
The leaders who inspire me appreciate that together we can generate more light than each of us can on our own.
They surround themselves with a community of strong potential brightness, then help each part become brighter. The goal of their leadership is not to be as bright as possible, but to put our combined brightness to work in new ways.
One by one, they turn on the lights in the people around them.
Whose leadership turns on the lights for you?
How will you turn on lights for the people around you this week?
[Image by Joel Montes de Oca]