Tuesday, July 23, 2013

* Intimacy as a tool for Authentic Leadership

When thinking of leadership per se, what comes to me first is the Biblical illustration that describes the relationship between shepherds and the sheep – leaders and followers. It’s their strong bond and intimacy that constituted the vivacity of their daily business. The shepherds named their sheep, gently communicated to them each day, and patted them on the head to settle them down each evening. Rather than distancing themselves and monitoring their followers by some other means, (if, at all, they had any) they ensured that they stayed close enough to observe their followers’ activities. In short, referring back to these illustrations would enable us to see that staying amicable, vulnerable and intimate with their followers were the crucial leadership tools leaders implemented to attaining their goals then. Can't we use these models, today? I bet we can. 

One might say that for the 21st century leaders, patting their followers on the head may be taking things a bit too far. Yet, don’t you think leaders need to understand the nature of the trust that binds them with their followers and utilize by strengthening it? Do you think isolation from one’s followers, be it in one way or the other, clears all of the leader’s dirty linen and earns him/her due respect? I don’t think so. It seems difficult, if not impossible, to build positive long-term relationship with your team, support many-sided human interactions, help people survive conflict, build trust to retain valuable employees if we merely continue to focus on the outcome of business.

In my opinion, chumminess with followers alone isn’t a sole factor that could bring about impertinence from them. On the contrary, a leader’s detachment from his team or followers is a source for conflict and misunderstandings of various sorts. What most matters for a leader in the eyes of his/her team or followers, so it seems, is whether the leader walks his/her talk; his/her true character and tenacity toward achieving his/her company’s or department’s goals; his/her role as their leader to help them move en route for attaining those set goals. These are the dynamics of a leader that serves as a designating feature of true authentic leadership. Tamara Sulistyo, in her simple but true reflections on this subject says,

Intimacy stands for "in-to-me-see." To what extent do you let people see into you - by being open enough to share your likes, passions, values, hopes and dreams?”   
I couldn’t agree more. How about you? What do you say?


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