Caren Hamilton & John Watkins share the second part of their blog on Leadership Grace. See last week’s post for part 1
The Power of Leadership Grace
There are different aspects of power that we have found help us to express and lead with grace. These surround our core and they are the energetic expression of grace. So grace empowers us to lead through clarity, focus, and ease, to achieve recovery, unity, and service. From that work we create the possibility to live a happy, free, and joyous life.
Clarity emerges out of chaos and reveals what needs to be destroyed or created. As we honestly inventory our lives, our recovery and healing begins, and we find ourselves returning to this wellspring over and over. This is the essence of the goddess Kali in yoga philosophy. It is our spiritual compost – the stuff out of which new things are created. Kali is the forth “R” in Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rot. Here is the uncomfortable, yet fertile place, where necessity births invention – the muck out of which the lotus grows and blossoms.
Focus comes from the healthy application of the brilliant searchlight of our mind in service to the Heart. Here we access our knowledge and arts, and we set an intention to apply this wisdom in our lives. In yoga philosophy, the goddess Saraswati represents this power, calling forth discernment and the skillful use of all our resources to achieve unity.
Ease is the beautiful, radiant, and abundant aspect of Leadership Grace. This rich and cultured expression is known as the goddess Laksmi in yoga philosophy, representing the culminating expression of our artistry, beauty, and abundance. We aspire to use this power in service to the Divine in all situations.
The Inner and Outer Practices of Leadership Grace
Both yoga and 12-step traditions require our regular and consistent practice. A strong inner practice gives us a significant competitive advantage because it gives us access to unlimited resources from which to act. That inner practice involves opening to grace, engaging and hugging to our core sense of meaning and purpose, and learning how to express that outward clearly, skillfully, and directly. A strong inner practice is portable, allows us to be centered, courageous, and steadfast, yet adaptable, dynamic, and flexible in any situation.
Leadership Grace is our divine embodiment fully expressed in the grit of our daily experiences. Healthy and effective leadership is nothing if it is not full engagement. “As much, so much,” goes the yoga expression, reminding us to apply a hundred percent of our power for each place we choose to engage, and yet, never more than is needed. This balanced action keeps us from over-exerting ourselves.
This is not the same as “do-er-ship,” the need to do something to fix things. Instead we can be the calm center that steadfastly holds us and our anxieties about our lives, loves, and work in a place of loving and compassionate reflection. It may be a fiery reflection that allows us to see with discernment the contrasts between our stories of our experience and what is real. It allows us to disengage from what is no longer serving, in order to re-engage healthily in each new moment.
Leadership Grace allows all of us to feel safe enough to open our own hearts and let our innermost selves flow into expression. That leadership connects with our deepest, most heartfelt longings, creates a place that is safe and trusting, yet holds us to high standards of responsibility to self and others, and as a result, frees us to be more whole. Then we can more easily align our “views, means, and fruit.”
Leadership Grace asks first, often, and always, “How might I be of service in this situation?” “How might I act from a place of clarity, focus, ease, and grace?” “How might my service aid recovery (healing) and build unity, such that we may all become more happy, joyous, and free?” “How might I use the power of grace to illuminate the dark places of fear, dissolving away that which is no longer serving, opening to the growth of what is emerging, naming things with clear and articulate words, and supporting the fullest expression of beauty, abundance, and art?” And at each point, Leadership Grace starts with ourselves first, yet also we realize, there is no end, no goal, no final solution. Leadership Grace is a continual process of disciplined practice to allow us ever-deeper access to our divine nature and its ever-fuller expression in this amazing world we inhabit.
Finally, regardless of whether the dis-ease we encounter is within ourselves, at work, at home or next door, it is all a symptom of disconnection and imbalance, a sort of soul sickness. Awareness is the first step, then regular and consistent practice is the pathway that returns us to Grace. We invite you to join us in this practice!
For more resources, see our Library topic Spirituality in the Workplace.