Attention Heroes and Lone Rangers! Is your belief that everything needs to happen through your own power draining your energy? I invite you to consider a different perspective, with two ways of sharing power that increase your sustainable impact.
1. Sharing power with others: “Recognizing when everyone brings something and they share their something everyone has enough, plenty, with much left over.” Jim Caccamo, Community Change Leader, saw this team leadership lesson reflected in the Gospel story of the Feeding of the Five Thousand. “Our job is to ‘listen’ to what people bring and build a trustworthy process to have everyone share.”
“When it was time to re-submit an application for a very large grant to provide early learning services to children from low-income families, we engaged in myriad listening sessions with parents, community stakeholders, service providers with whom we collaborated, staff, and others. After these sessions, we had sufficient information to write a strong collaborative application. While very labor intensive, these listening sessions brought people together because everyone had input,” Jim’s example. He also knows the benefits of a coaching partner.
Everyone shared, each contribution was valued and respected, which led to increased sustainable impact as everyone committed to the purpose and their contribution to the children receiving early learning services. This principle is reflected in the sustainable, impactful teams I coach: a focus on purpose, with each team player taking responsibility for their contribution; with each person’s cultural identities being valued, respected, and committed.
We know that the hero leader is not a sustainable model. As workers become leaders and entrepreneurs expand their businesses, they need to learn to share the power (and work) with others in order to achieve sustainable impact.
2. Sharing the power spiritually: Jim and I, in our coaching, discovered our shared belief that we can tap into God’s power at any time, rather than trying to carry everything on our narrow shoulders. What a relief to remember we do not have to depend only on our own power! Cultures and religions that do not focus on a deity still refer to a deep and powerful unitive connection to the whole that you can tap into for shared power.
When my father was rapidly declining in health, I found myself at times full of sorrow, with little energy and difficulty focusing, a normal grief reaction. Yet I still woke at times, thankfully, energized, full of love, peace and even joy. I brought that energy for the launch of my Culturally Confident Credentialing Mentor Coaching program during my dad’s decline. “I felt cradled in safety,” said the participant I coached. (And ready for our powerful learning adventure!) I experienced God’s power at work in and through me. And I need to continually remind myself I do not have to go it alone! One way I do this is by actually physically stepping into a shared power stance.
“Over the years, I have found a natural connection between and among leadership, community change and my spiritual self. Through meditation and reflection on scriptures the work of community changes, while not easier, certainly is clearer, particularly when it comes to listening.” Jim Caccamo, former Executive Director, Ignatian Spirituality Center of Kansas City; Director of Early Childhood Education for Mid-America Regional Council when we were coaching.
And, I add, sharing the power! Leaders, want to check in on how power is shared in your organization, team and the impact? Contact me for a strategy session.
To our potential, prosperity and peace-we are in this together!
Marilyn O’Hearne, MSW, MCC, LLC
CQ Master Certified Coach, International Coach Federation #unlockallpotential Leadership, Team, Mentor Coaching and Coaching Supervision
PS How to handle those who do not want to share power
First Published May 23, 2016 and updated
Extremely wise words indeed Marilyn. I suspect that a good many of us in this field lean heavily into the “hero” role when there is something much greater to tap into in terms of “power”. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks, Maureen. Yes, sometimes those with the highest value of service are most challenged to tap into shared power.