It’s important to me that people develop enough confidence in their own capability that they can meet any challenge in their lives. Part of what I’ve longed recognized is that people will accept one set of standards for their “professional” life and another for their personal lives.
For example, I write about leadership and I’m willing to bet that most assume that I’m writing about workplace performance. I’m not. Leadership is a real discipline that can be applied in any and all contexts. I believe that if we all sought out to be leaders in every facet of our lives, we’d be a lot healthier and happier.
But, in my experience, people will operate one way at work and another at home. They might be respected at the workplace, but then forego all of their strengths and leave them at the office. To me, this dynamic of separate realities causes psycho-emotional harm because the split nature of their world can lead to real dissonance.
My definition of leadership is: The contextually appropriate, social distribution of power. Who gets to distribute the power? All members within a context do. I believe that if people can understand that power is mutual in almost every situation, they can become healthier. The reason I believe this is that, if people apply empowerment principles, their relationships will improve and they’ll experience far less dissonance in their lives.
I think that in understanding leadership, people can improve their lives. But, though I believe this and have seen the research to back it up, I also know that people tend to want someone else to lead them in some way or another. I dismiss that desire: While there are people who are experts at certain things, it’s up to us to take any expert information and apply it in our own way. We shouldn’t accept one ethic in one context and another in a different context, simply because we change contexts. We should understand each context within which we exists in our lives, understand our role in that context, and then share in the development of that context. We are whole beings who should never live split against ourselves.