Leading Inside-Out And Wrong Side Up

We become rich in not what we have, but in what we give away…

The more you study the art and science of leadership…the more confounding, complex and confusing it can become.  Much of what truly great and authentic leaders do runs in direct conflict with our human nature.  Which therein lies the struggle…and why leadership will always be an ongoing journey of transformation.

The contrarian nature of servant leadership will most likely always remain a concept of continual struggle…

Whether those concepts are rooted around ideas of the release of power and autonomy, the giving and investment of your gifts and knowledge, or even the integration of empathy, compassion and emotional intelligence.

It remains a struggle…

  • For we preach collaboration, while making single-handed, unilateral decisions.
  • For we preach community and connection, while fragmenting the process through dysfunctional communication and inability to create trust.
  • For we preach teamwork, while undercutting the process through our focus on titles and positional power.

It is no secret…

Leaders have a track record of preaching one type of leadership…while implementing a style that is in direct conflict with those very same ideals and concepts.

The reason…

Selfless, servant leadership is incredibly difficult.  It requires leaders to turn themselves inside-out and very often…wrong-side up.  It is a perplexing proposition.  In stepping down from the center stage…from no longer placing yourself at the center of every solution, every event, every victory. every part of the organization…you reframe your core.

You become others focused…

As a leader, you learn the importance of raising others up…allowing them to take their place on center stage…to spotlight them, their work, their successes.  You learn how to add value to others, rather than focusing it back on yourself.

The inside-out is about engaging your heart and head…allowing your leadership to exude vulnerability, compassion, empathy, understanding, caring and love for those you serve and support.

The wrong-side up requires you to disrupt your long held notions about leadership.  You realize that is not really about titles, power and position…that it is not all about you.  Rather, it is about those you serve…and the connection and relationship you create with them.

It requires you to place a dimmer switch on your leadership…to allow the lights of those you serve the opportunity to shine bright.  It is about creating other leaders.

The interesting thing…

When you employ this type of selfless, servant leadership…your influence not only increases, it expands in exponential ways.  And keeps on expanding…

It takes a big heart to place others and their well-being over your own.  Not a trade-off that many leaders are often willing to make…or even consider.  But for those that do…they are often the ones that ignite a spark.

A spark that ignites your leadership…that changes people, that changes organizations, and sometimes…even changes the world.

We each have gifts…they were provided and given to us to not just have, but to share.  To not only enhance our own life…but to enhance and enrich the lives of others.  Our impact and influence is not in the knowledge and gifts we gain and control…but in how we share and give them away freely to others.

Leadership is not just about pushing through closed doors…it’s about holding those same doors open for those coming through behind you.

Leadership is not about doing what we have always done…it is about different.      And sometimes it is about being inside-out, and wrong side up.

There is a humble beauty that emanates from us when we choose to serve others selflessly…


2 thoughts on “Leading Inside-Out And Wrong Side Up

  1. Thanks David. In essence, leadership is about the response to this question: How many leaders did you leave behind? By opening oneself up, exposing flaws, being a learner as well as a leader, and watching others grow, leadership becomes magnified and far-reaching.

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