Don’t let our leadership philosophy fool you; some love-led leaders can be racist.
Being a love-led leader does not mean that you are not any of these things. The words “I am a love-led leader” do not excuse our negative thoughts and behaviours toward others.
Even though I am married to a brown woman and my boys are “mixed” (their word not mine), it does not give me a pass on acknowledging my white privilege and the work I need to do.
As love-led leaders we can access a genuine desire and commitment to the core of the love-led leadership philosophy: engaging in leadership practices guided by feelings of concern for others and which promote strong affection between people give rise to a dedication to others’ well-being and the maintenance of their dignity.
In other words, how WE lead ourselves and others will show them how to become dedicated to other people’s wellbeing and to maintain their dignity.
And…just because you say you lead from love, does not automatically make people feel that we are kind or safe or trustworthy. Only our actions can show that.
Lead from where you stand
We know how fear-based leadership ends. Nigro (2018) offered that the elevated shadow traits of these leaders spread to others in the form of interpersonal aggression.
We see this in the police officer who kept his knee on George Floyd’s, a black man, neck until he died.
We see it when our office is almost all white people and there are no plans to address it.
When children make fun of their classmate’s skin colour and no one responds.
When a black woman’s problem-solving plans are talked over and no one calls it out.
When someone blames an Asian person for bringing COVID-19 to our country.
Or when the lived experience, ideas, and input of our racialized colleagues and friends are disregarded in favour of our own comfort.
Who is responsible for the leadership that creates the environments in which these actions can flourish?
Because everyone can engage in love-led leadership practices from where they stand…and they choose not to. All of us, at one time or another, have chosen not to.
Last week, during a two-day empowerment teaching on Avalokiteshvara, a practice focused on compassion, His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s addressed the death of George Floyd and offered the world this teaching:
“If you pay attention, all living beings with the experience of feeling and sensation survive through compassion and love. If we as human beings do not harm one another, but help one another, serve one another and be compassionate with one another, then we will have a peaceful world.”
No matter where you stand in the world, you can engage in love-led leadership practices and use its characteristics to engage in loving and compassionate acts. You can use the be LOVE-LED™ Blueprint to guide your words, your thoughts, and your actions toward a more just, equitable, and safe environment.
If you are in a formal leadership position it is imperative that you acknowledge and use your platform and privilege to lead others in ways that promote and maintain the wellbeing and dignity of others. This may mean simply listening or it may mean tearing down some walls.
Without that leadership, the culture in our families, our teams, and our organizations will continue to be influenced by the shadow traits of leadership…
And we have seen how that ends.
Lead from where you stand.
Want to journey with a community of other love-led leaders? Join the Global Love-Led Leadership Movement here to continue the discussion on how love-led leadership can inspire positive change in our organizations.
Want to know more about the be LOVE-LED™ Blueprint? The be LOVE-LED™ Blueprint Course will be available for pre-purchase on June 20, 2020 – Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “I want to know more!” and we will make sure you are first on the list to grab it at the Summer Special Rate before anyone else!
Sheena is a proud positive deviant, status quo questioner and change agent. Sheena uses love-led leadership and the be LOVE-LED™ Framework in mentoring, coaching, and consulting emerging or existing leaders to move themselves, their teams and their organizations toward positive change. She has seen love-led leadership actions reduce and reverse the cycle of fear, shame, blame, and guilt that create burnout and imposter syndrome. Sheena has witnessed the devastating effects when love-led leadership isn’t used by leaders and never wants to see that again. She is the Founder of The Global Love-Led Leadership Movement which strives to share love-led leadership around the world and connect other love-led leaders with each other for networking and mentorship.