The Power of Leadership

Coaching, Leadership Development, Transformation
Walkway outside the University of Munich, Germany, July 2015. Photo courtesy of Wendy Moomaw. All Right Reserved.
Walkway outside the University of Munich, Germany, July 2015. Photo courtesy of Wendy Moomaw. All Rights Reserved.

The confluence of politics, leadership and 8th grade history class.

I refuse to name the political candidate by his name so will call him “he who shall not be named.” To watch him rise to the ranks sends chills up my spine both for the toxicity of his leadership and the momentum he seems to have created in his rise.

After visiting Munich, Germany this summer, I’m struck by the commonalities between his rise to power and that of the epitome of evil to humanity, another “he who shall not be named.” During our visit, I was struck by the story of a resistance movement called the “White Rose Movement” which used the dark of night to try and educate and inform and also challenge the rhetoric and false truths being perpetrated by the leadership. These brave people fought to uncover and to speak the truth inside Germany. Munich remembers them. I remember them.

Through another lens, I am a student of leadership. In my executive coaching and leadership facilitations, the journey of leadership begins within. The most talented leaders are learners and examine themselves from the inside out. They are aware that emotions are contagious. Their followers and/or employees, through the mirror neurons in the brain, emulate their emotions without cognitive thought. This is the foundation of emotional intelligence. Great leaders are not afraid to learn and spend time reflecting on themselves, making course corrections along the way in an effort to inspire their organizations to achieve great results.

Contrast that with the toxic leader, who gets results, and destroys organizations from the inside out. They use short-tempers, shaming and blaming to motivate using fear. Their behaviors diminish engagement and empowerment and they may achieve results. On the outside, their organization looks to be growing and succeeding. However, over the long-term, they destroy organizations from the inside out. Like a tree that rots from within, everything looks good on the outside until a stiff wind or storm knocks the tree over only to discover it is hollow.

Through my life lens, I had even another perspective. My child is finding it difficult to stay engaged in her history class. “Why do I need to take this class anyway?” she asked begrudgingly. “Because history has a tendency to repeat itself,” I said. “Well, if it’s going to repeat itself, why I don’t just wait for it to happen again and learn from it then?” she inquired. And I stated, “because there are some historical moments that you wish to never, ever repeat again.”

I do not want my country to rot from the inside out and be blown over in a stiff wind. I require a leader who is aware of the power of their leadership and who will lead my country into the next century.

And an offer of gratitude to the White Rose Movement for the power of your resistance. You have not been forgotten.

— Wendy Moomaw

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