Many people think about leadership as a process or a method.
If I input X then I can get my team to give me Y. And that might be true if the people you were leading were simply robots; easy to program and decode.
But the nature of leadership is that it’s messy humans leading messy humans. Humans who have deep-seated fears, hang-ups from the past, and dreams about the future.
So many leaders try their best to squeeze their teams into a box they want them to be in. They talk about leadership like a big chess game or a mass propaganda campaign. For a long time, that kind of leadership was effective, but the smarter and more powerful human beings have become, the less effective that style of leadership has become.
This is why I often talk to my clients about the art of leadership.
When you see leadership as an art you can begin to see the constraints of your team like the colors in your palette.
You can begin to see the uncertainty in the market place as the distortion your eyes create when it looks out on a landscape.
You can begin to see each challenge as an invitation to create art, inspiration, and possibility.
But this can only happen if you let go of the machine of leadership and the x=y mentality.
If you paint by numbers 1 may equal red, but if you paint as an artist 1 can be any color you want, so long as it invokes purpose, beauty, and serves the people you long to change.
Leadership as an art can be intimidating because what’s right gives way to what works and who’s in charge gives way to who’s committed.
But people are done being treated like machines. Especially the kind of smart, talented, caring individuals who you want to lead.
This is why when you take on the task of leading with art not only does your life get easier and more interesting, the people around you also become better at being who they already are.