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Leadership is an Inside Job

Updated: Nov 11, 2020

This is how we approach leadership in the Garden Hill framework

As I write this in May of 2020, it seems I see daily examples of the Leadership Crisis we face collectively, especially in governance. I won’t dwell on that here, because there are plenty of places any of us can go to find reaction, analysis, call to action, and general diatribes that address this particular Leadership gap.

What concerns us in Nonprofit Consultancy practice is: do these significant gaps trickle down, and if so, how might they be changing the way our local, on the ground leaders see their own capacity, skill and responsibility, and how does it impact our Personal Leadership? Personal Leadership, is “using your positive leadership traits to guide the direction of your own life, rather than leaving time and chance to determine your course.”

Most importantly, how might everyday leaders at all levels—in any context—develop new skill sets, so that a higher standard is established, and they can demonstrate actively, a more inspiring, equitable, and effective way of leading?

In other words, how do we learn, individually and collectively, how to counter-act apparent pressures towards mediocrity and worse? Beyond even that, how do develop higher levels of sophistication and competency to meet profoundly significant new challenges like a crippling pandemic or widespread pain caused by racism?

The Garden Hill Consulting (GHC) framework for Leadership is founded on the principles of Leading From Within, and incorporates the following components:

  • Self Care, using tools like Sabbath Practices and Mindfulness

  • Self-Awareness, Self-knowing, through options like Enneagram work, Strengths Finder, and Meditation practices

  • Cultivation of Creativity and care for the Inner Artist Child (using practices introduced in The Artists Way, by J Cameron, for example).

  • Personal Vision and Values, and exploring Call and Purpose

  • Self-Leadership and management, through the concepts of Personal Leadership and practical Energy Management

  • Discernment and Decision-making, utilizing Community formation and the Personal Board of Directors

  • Mindfulness in Leadership, as a stand-alone foundation

  • Your Story, your Why? Using teaching from Listening to Your Life, by P Palmer

Tools, exercises and supporting structures are available for each component, just some of those are shown above. These components can be used selectively, or as a whole system, according to need or interest.

By working from the heart—by first knowing our own hearts—leaders can bring forth an authentic perspective, presence and stance, allowing for trust to be established throughout the community or organization. Trust is the foundation of any effective group effort and without it, little can be achieved collectively. This approach towards authentic leadership and active practice creates a stronger center from which to activate influence. Leadership is an “inside job” and strengthening our inner guidance system is critical to meet the massive challenges we face.

Being an effective, healthy leader is one pathway towards Thriving, for the leader as a person, and for the people, groups and efforts being led.

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