I couldn’t decide if grace was the right word.
But it felt right.
I’m trying to describe leadership that restores.
Leadership that lifts us up.
The kind of leader who senses we’re struggling and asks –
How can I help?
The kind of leader who senses we’re frustrated and says –
The kind of leader who senses we’re overwhelmed and says –
I know this is difficult.
The kind of leader who senses we’re hurting and asks –
Are you okay?
The kind of leader who senses our discouragement and says –
Don’t give up.
The kind of leader who senses our isolation and says –
I’m here for you.
The kind of leader who senses our uncertainty and says –
You did great.
The kind of leader who senses our excitement and says –
Go for it.
The kind of leader who does these things –
Even when we feel like we don’t deserve it.
And maybe we don’t.
But they do it anyway.
The kind of leader who senses and responds.
Empathy with action.
Leadership grace isn’t focused on the high performer.
Or the confident go-getter.
Leadership grace sees the quiet and hopeful.
The one who made some mistakes but longs for another chance.
We long for a leader who sees the beauty inside.
Who sees the potential we may not realize.
The dreams we have forgotten.
Who shows us we matter.
And rekindles our imagination.
There is strength in this kind of leadership.
A boldness grounded in love and humility.
It requires taking risks.
A belief in the unique value of every human being.
A belief that we’re all part of a bigger story.
There may be no greater experience in leadership than watching someone emerge from their fears, limiting beliefs and labels and step out into new possibilities.
As they take on new challenges and learn more of who they are and what they are capable of achieving, we get to share in the experience.
Perhaps the most rewarding moment is when we realize they have grown beyond us and we watch with joy and expectation as they set out to make their mark in the world.
And in that moment, we too find grace.
Originally published at soul2work.com on February 17, 2016.