This year’s set of leadership blogs are focusing on “seed sowing.” As I was thinking about this next exploration of the theme, I was watching my twitter feed. I know some may not recommend that, but it did bring me back to the idea of the connexion between leadership and not only that which we sow, but also for whom we do the sowing and why.
From my faith-based context, I would describe my role as stewarding that which is not mine, and offering leadership in that capacity leads me to ask questions from a perspective that is informed by humility. This perspective, however, does not mean it is a universal statement on leadership. This perspective comes from a very particular experience that is important to share, prior to naming any (tentative) proposals or ideas.
I am writing from the position of having inherited a great deal of privilege: both gender and the ability to present as “white” affords me authority simply by the serendipity of birth. Add to that heterosexual and educated, thus, the role of leadership I can choose to practice is rather, if not completely, wide open. This context is important because it brings me back to my twitter feed …
If you are on twitter, you can see many men who share my general identity and the manner in which they choose to interact with the world. In particular, those with whom they disagree. They communicate this in a manner that is often belligerent, undermines civil discourse, and is violent in nature. For those who do not appreciate the connexion between words used and their effect on a person’s well-being, I would invite you to explore BullyingCanada.
With the privilege I carry, my faith reminds me that my choices should lead me to helping people claim their dignity. Sometimes that might mean simply witnessing and accompanying; other times that might mean advocating. Through the lens of humility, however, it is not for me to assume direction or outcomes. If I listen closely, if trust is sown, I can awaken to what others need and help leverage that which I have to ensure that those who hurt, suffer, and are oppressed find healing and liberation.
As I pause this musing, so as to make space for you to continue the conversation dear Readers and Seekers, I am also aware that some might hear this reflection as self-righteous or preachy. Perhaps, if I am honest, I can admit that is how this might be heard, but that’s not intention. My hope is to make space to explore this one aspect of leadership that asks me to remain conscious of the harm I can cause and, in turn, always ask: do the choices I make and the words I use help people or cause hurt. I cannot speak for others, but my faith journey indicates when the latter results, serious questions must arise lest I become blind to causing harm to a creation for which I am called to care.