Leader as Healer – The Future of Leadership is Already Here
I’m in a space of vulnerability as I sit here and write this to the world. I am allowing myself to feel what I’m feeling because this is where the wisdom lies. So here goes….
Our world is broken. People are suffering. Our communities and organisations struggle with complexity. There is simply too much information for the human mind to cope with. The energy I feel walking through the metaphorical halls of society are ones of fragmentation, unexpressed grief and anger, and pure survival. The evidence is all around us:
- There are far too many examples on the global stage of poor leadership, leading to war, climate crisis, inequality and social injustice, and psychological and physical violence
- People are overwhelmed by fear, uncertainty, and change
- There is too much information for our minds to synthesise, we experience confusion and fogginess often; we describe our states as “frenetic”, “scattered”, “all over the place” often
- Our physical health depletes as a last resort to signal extreme stress and shut down to rest
- Our mental wellbeing diminishes because we cannot psychologically cope with our internal and/or external state
- We feel disconnected from others – misunderstood, missed, or unseen
- We cannot think our way out of things; the more we seek to control, strategise and plan, the more things feel even more complex. Many people feel hopeless or helpless.
In my core, I know this way of being is not the answer. In my core, I know there is a better way – one that I want to be part of creating for our future leaders (which includes my own children).
I was introduced to Nicholas Janni’s work through a friend. I leapt off a ledge to ask Nicholas to come and share his message from halfway across the world, and he answered my request. We set out to create a 2 hour virtual session together – to bring leaders across the world together to explore a new paradigm – one he calls Leader as Healer. One that might be unfamiliar and scary to many of us… perhaps even heretical, but a journey braved through the strength of a convened group. Whoever showed up were the right people. All were welcome.
Fast forward to our session in November 2021. What struck me the most was not the words of his message, but the presence in which he delivered it. Calm, generous in spirit, accepting of anything and everything – put another way, true leadership. Through our interactions, I left with a deep felt sense of what it means to embody Leader as Healer.
I write this reflection as a way to integrate what I am sitting with now after our 2 hour session and share with others the possibilities of leadership. For Leader as Healer is not just the future of leadership, it is calling for us now. It’s a call to action for a new type of leadership to emerge that recognises, acknowledges, and seeks to disrupt the evidence above. What does this leadership entail?
Full expression of our humanity.
So here is what I’m processing based on the boulders of wisdom I received from Nicholas’ talk:
- Slowing down and paying attention – to what is happening inside of us, particularly to our physical and emotional state. This way we can “reunite our words with our energy” and create coherence in what we say, what we do, and who we are.
- To recognise that the territory of unknowing is what our left brains hate the most. We must learn to tolerate and welcome the unknowing.
- To practice unconditional love – “love is an unconditional yes to whatever is arising” and stop naming people, emotions or situations as positive and negative. For many of us in the helping profession, we often name this as “holding the space”.
- To welcome all emotions to liberate our full intelligence – “we speak to each other but we don’t feel each other”
- To sit with fear and hear its wisdom – “fear does not block you, you block fear”
- And to work on integrating all the exiled parts of ourselves so that we can lead fully in this world from a place of oneness and embodiment – “the only protection you need is to know who you are”