During my first trail, in 2015, I described natural leadership for myself in a poem that I gave the title ‘Holding the Space’, a phrase that Boy van Droffelaar, one of the facilitators, used at one point.
Holding the space
An eagle left his tree perch,
to fly to me
and circle around – three times,
floating on winds I could not see.
this is how leadership should be
Leading like the eagle is leading from what I am, deep inside. Only that helps me lead the organisations I work for to achieve the impact they stand for. Leading myself in this way also keeps me connected to that ‘deep inside’. In this way I can also maintain what is needed to be a better husband, father, son, brother, etc. The eagle has an eye on everything important. He floats above the fray but is not detached. He dives down to Earth if needed and then does what is required. But he does not stay there. He is connected with his surroundings. But not caught up in them. He is.
For me natural leadership is ubuntu. Sharing one’s humanity. When humanness is not shared organisations and communities derail. They lose impact or start having adverse impact. Sharing one’s humanity does not mean we all become tree huggers. It does not mean eternal harmony. What it does mean for me is constantly and honestly looking at who I am, what my motives are, and what my actions mean. It also means sharing that with others. That sharing, which can be done in many ways, is also essential. Organisations in which natural leadership is cherished and developed are more sustainable and have more impact. I have experienced that myself. If my motives were fuzzy or half-honest, if I did not dare admit that I was unsure, if I walked away from something I feared, things did not go as well as they might have. My best decisions where taken when I was connected to my natural leadership.