Leading with a Light and Gentle Touch

Today on TickledByLife.com, there was a wonderful article on leadership. In his article, “Leading with a Light and Gentle Touch,” Eric Garner states that at the heart of facilitation and people management is to “get people to do great things” while at the same time allowing “things to happen; not by doing a lot, but by doing as little as possible.” More specifically, getting out of the way so people have space to grow. By not thinking for them, people start to think for themselves and by not offering solutions, people come up with their own solutions. With this in mind, Mr. Garner offers six leadership tips:

1. Gentle Leadership. Groups turn to a leader at critical moments. So, rather than wrestling control from the group, use gentle leadership at critical times to help people lead themselves. Tao Te Ching calls this “leading by following”; specifically saying, “In order to master people one must speak as their servant; in order to lead people one must follow them.”

2. Gentle Interventions. Gentle leadership requires gentle interventions such as a gentle frown, a gentle look, a gentle smile, a gentle touch, a gentle nudge, a few gentle words, or by gentle persuasion.

3. 3D Leaders. Much like a mountain guide, a 3-D leader knows when to tell the group to “Follow me!”; when to mix in with them to gain their confidence; and when to let everyone climb a cliff first so s/he can check their progress and safety from below.

4. Charisma. Influence others simply by your presence and attentiveness.

5. Class. A gentle leader does not need to prove himself; rather, he intervenes as a last resort using his skills in an understated way. More specifically, Louis Tice says, “The object is to be so strong, so powerful, that you can afford to be gentle. As change occurs, as your growth happens from inside, you will become more powerful, more confident. So you can become gentle, at ease and real. ”

6. The Leader as Catalyst. A catalyst is a substance that causes change in other substances merely by its presence. The group facilitator acts as catalyst when s/he shows the group genuine understanding; offers recognition; helps others make sense of their problems; and encourages them to be all they can be.

Remember … touch a life today “The Little Way” by following the lead and need of others.  Also, if you ever thought to yourself, “I wish my customers, knew…”, then be sure to visit White Light Communications at http://www.tothewhitelight.com.

~ Theresa

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