The shift to Servant Leadership isn’t always about leaders or experts who need to stop dictating and being bullies. Leaders lead people and how those people show up often determines how a leader leads. If the team expects to be bullied and told what to do, if they don’t know how to work from autonomy, then leaders often find themselves falling back into the ‘expected’ ways.
This is a story of a lady who really amazed me. She was one of the few who had such a drastic shift that I didn’t recognise her the next day. Her hair had changed, her clothes had changed, her whole energy changed. This is her story.
During the first day and a half the team had been struggling to find its feet, struggling to find a space where they could tolerate each other and be respectful. Lady L shared with me how she couldn’t understand why people were afraid of her, she wasn’t a scary person, she was gentle and well-meaning. The pain she felt not fitting in, not being able to find her space or voice in the team was evident. It showed up in her appearance – short spiky hair, clothing that was edgy. What wasn’t showing up was her gentleness.
During the video playbacks she got quiet. I could see the emotion starting to come up as she started to be her own worst judge. No-one likes seeing themselves when who they have been taught to be isn’t gentle or kind. I found myself talking more and more about gentleness, about how you would treat a child you adored if they were learning about themselves – treat yourself like that.
The next day she blew past me in this cloud of light and laughter – I did not recognise her. At the morning check in she brought me (and the group) to tears.
She started off talking about what I had been saying. Which is always a tad scary as I say a lot. Turns out she was talking about being gentle. She decided as she left Day 2 to be gentle with herself and to be gentle with her son (around 12 I think with special needs. A relationship she had talked to me about that was very difficult, very angry, very explosive – not the warm mother son I could see she wished for).
She drove to pick up her son and she said she saw her son brace himself for the fight as she pulled up. Instead of being her normal self she consciously practiced the 9 rules. She was curious about his day, she was gentle. She shared her day and asked questions. She said they laughed and sang and listen to music the whole way home and when her son got out the car, he gave her a huge hug.
She no longer walks into spaces afraid of who she is, afraid that everyone thinks she is scary. And all it took was a safe space to be able to observe what she couldn’t see for herself before.
She is one of dozens of individuals who have had similar experiences on the Servant Leadership, people who have found their inner greatness, who have shed years of conditioning and behaviours that don’t serve them well at all. P
What These Stories Show
I often fall into the trap of trying to logically explain what the 3 day Servant Leadership and 2 day Personal Mastery workshops are about. In a nutshell I create a space where a small group of people feel safe enough to experience themselves. By this I mean they get to see themselves in action and so see the impact they are actually having on flow, people and team dynamics. We use 2 mental models to allow people to see their behaviour in a different way and to create their own changes through choosing a new set of beliefs about the world – which automatically and with remarkable ease changes behaviour.
Yes! It really is that simple. I don’t convince anyone, I allow them to experience how they show up for themselves and provide a framework that they can use to see themselves in a new way.
As they always say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so here is one in a series of stories of people who have been through the 3 day Servant Leadership workshop and the shifts they have made.