I am learning a lot through a team that I’m working with that is planning a series of leadership retreats.

Together, as a core team, we have been challenged to reach below the surface, and below what is below that, to clarify what we even mean by leadership. My goto is a definition from my Berkana Institute days, “a leader is anyone who wants to help.” It’s really important work to do this reaching. And it’s got some tricky edges to it.

Together, as so often is the case with teams, we have been challenged to lean in to our differences and open to a coherence and value in them. That work requires exquisite attention to our relationships, which I’m glad that we have.

Some of what I am learning through this group is about leadership as “refreshing vision, supporting alignment, and championing execution.” That is good stuff. And it’s a package. It sparks a lot in me about what that has to do with a participative approach. Execution has often been the privileged aspect of this trio.
I would suggest that within such leadership practice, this enticing trio, there are masculine expressions and feminine expressions. The masculine has  typically meant “being in front of” and has shadow of “going without people, come hell or high water.” The feminine has typically meant “going together in collaboration and listening” and has shadow of “lost in perpetual gooeyness.”

I’m drawn to “leadership as practice” though sometimes it shows up as “position.” And am extremely glad to be around smart people who are able and willing to explore the edges together.