Those of us doing the healing work are being called to step forward into leadership roles. But one of the issues at the back of my mind with that was – how do you be a leader without coming from a place of ego superiority? How do we do it from a place of equality?
In January 2020, I took my partner Tony to Chalice Well Garden in Glastonbury for his birthday. In the previous December, I’d been running a daily “Silent Minute” which was an initiative started by the founder of Chalice Well, Wellesley Tudor Pole. Going to Chalice Well after doing the Silent Minuten was like returning home to the place of the Silent Minute to receive another insight. It wasn’t what I expected!
Adventures in Chalice Well
I used my membership to book us a room in the special retreat house by the Garden. That gave us nighttime access to the garden and the chance to meditate with no one else around. It was a teeny bit scary and a fascinating experience at the same time.
The evening of Tony’s birthday, I sat by a beautifully fragrant tree in the dark and asked for guidance on a power struggle issue I was facing with someone. At the same time, Tony was by the well head making a special sound recording of the spring waters.
The next day, I meditated by the famous well head and received a model of compassionate leadership based on understanding the unmet needs of the inner child.
To understand the inner child unmet needs, have a look at this gorgeous video on the 3 main attachment needs that children and adults have. It’s by the Circle of Security international and it’s magical in its simplicity and intuitive nature. Oh and that’s narrator’s voice is so soothing and nurturing too.
In a leadership situation, it’s easy for old parent-child relationship patterns to creep in and unmet childhood needs to create havoc and power struggles in professional relationships. Leaders who aren’t aware of this dynamic can echo an authoritarian parent dynamic and subconsciously expect the people they lead to be like obedient children to that authority. And yet, they will have an inner child desperate for the validation, freedom and comfort that The Circle of Security video shows us. Even the most self-aware leaders can slip into old unhealed relationship patterns – especially under stress.
But ideally, a leader would act as the hands on the circle for their staff or followers – giving them the balanced autonomy and support they need to flourish. And with full acknowledgment of any subtle power dynamics that might crop up.
Bigger, Stronger, Wiser and Kind Leaders
But if you’re a leader and not a parent who is physically bigger and much older, how do you be the kind of person who is bigger, stronger, wiser and kind AND at the same time honouring the equality of the staff or followers?
That’s the bit that came to me by the well head in meditation:
The meaning of “Bigger” in leadership:
- an expanded being coming from limitless, eternal soul rather than small ego considerations
- Seeing the bigger picture of each person having a vital part in the bigger plan for humanity
- Recognising the presence of our own smaller inner child
The meaning of “Stronger” in leadership:
- Returning to your truest, most natural self
- Spiritually strong (FIRE element) – through intuition and spiritual creativity
- Mentally strong (AIR element) – through mind management and healing old dysfunctional dynamics and patterns
- Emotionally strong (WATER element) – through reclaiming the entire spectrum of emotion from rage, hatred and shame right through to joy, happiness and contentment. Having emotional intelligence and understanding the vital messages in emotions.
- Physically strong (EARTH element) – through exercise, nutrition, meditation and hydration
- Transformationally strong (STORM element) – being able to weather transformation and those reality-shattering moments in life where everything changes
- At peace with the void (THE VOID/NOTHING where all things come from) – being comfortable with not knowing or seeing the path ahead
- Having strong boundaries
The meaning of “Wiser” in leadership:
- Having a more secure connection to our soul’s wisdom and holding the vision of our followers accessing the same too
- Knowing the limits of knowledge and understanding
- Being willing to listen to the wisdom emerging through followers too
The meaning of “Kind” in leadership:
- Having the compassion to see through patterns and coping strategies that mask deeper hurt or trauma
- Showing loving kindness and non-judgment
- Being kind to ourselves with secure boundaries
And for a leader to be all of this to others, that leader needs to have others being the “hands on the circle” for them too. Mentors, coaches, family, friends, healers or therapists can be the hands for different aspects of the leader’s life. So we create circles of security rippling out like the Flower of Life. An interconnected web of circles of support that constantly enrich the whole.
The compassionate leadership model is a way to embrace leadership with an ethos of equality and from the power of love, rather than the love of power.
I’d love to know what thoughts, feelings, ahas or reflections these ideas brought you. Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org or message me on Facebook.