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Jenn's main blog

Lost leadership or leader of the lost?

Jenn Shallvey

It can be lonely at the top, some say.  Being a leader means setting the trail not following. Add a vision, passion to make a difference, desire to create change. You can feel like you are an explorer on your own in a desert.  In times of change the isolation can seem unbearable. Frustration brews and simmers below the surface. You can see the change needed. You can see what will benefit the whole.

© Jenn Shallvey 2012Yet you are surrounded by people caught up in the mire and meanderings of minutiae. For some, little issues are big issues. This makes seeing the real issues impossible. As you stand up above the crowd, the masses and see beyond you wonder when will we all see the change needed? When will the group, the company, the people I work with get it?

You look in the mirror. You say. “I am a visionary and conscious business leader.” I have a dream, a passion.  I know in the depths of my being that we must change and work in a different way.  I don’t know how. This is why I surround myself with smart, motivated and talented people.”  

You look around you. You see fear, compliance, reticence, impatience, short sightedness. You see this from all directions - shareholders, managers, staff, suppliers, customers. It seems that all the key stakeholders in your line of sight are caught up in the story of the day.  The world is not in a good place.  Under the grip of this storyline behaviours are reactive, defensive and protective. Me first seems to be the silent mantra of the masses. 

Yet somehow you believe, deep within, that there are bright lights out there. Bright lights simply trapped in the prison of thought and expectation so prevalent.  

You know you are one when you sit in a meeting and feel welling up inside of you a voice that needs to express itself. 

You know you are one when you finish a performance review and sign up for objectives cascaded down that just don’t fire you up. 

You know this is you when you see examples out there of other organisations, leaders and people making real change.  

You know this is you when you say repeatedly to yourself ‘if only we could....wouldn’t this make a difference in the world’.

You walk around and wonder. You wonder whether the people in your office even care about their job. Why do they come to work. Is it really just a pay check? Is this all it comes down to? Are they there just because they can’t find anything else worth doing or another job?  Instead of a motivated and engaged team, workforce you have wage slaves.

Here’s the ultimate litmus test. When you walk around to meet and greet people in your team, business, office, company, notice how many people:

  • smile sincerely,
  • engage proactively,
  • speak authentically.

Then notice what happens inside you. Smile much? Engage? Authentic?

Maybe it’s time to start with you. Then maybe you might see something change around you.