If you're striving to be the kind of leader people willingly follow, you'll soon discover a purely intellectual approach to leadership won't get you the results you desire. In my experience successful leaders know how to influence the emotional experience of their counterparts in a generative manner, and there's no better way to do this than by communicating with your whole self. Having your body and your intellect communicating the same message, so that what you say matches what you do.
Becoming an embodied leader can be developed and trained for, in the same way a pianist runs through scales in preparation for a concert and a ballplayer spends time in the batting cage before a game. Through practice you'll discover wisdom is manifested through your body, breath, movement, and belief system, as well as through your verbal communication. You exude 'embodied leadership' when—
- You are in touch with your body and your emotions, and gently but freely express what you feel and believe to be so.
- You do your best to stay in touch with the emotional experience of your counterparts.
- You realize your model of the world is not "the truth" and you thus realize your opinions and suggestions regarding a course of action, are sometimes flawed.
- You recognize the accumulated knowledge and intelligence of the system you're operating in, exceeds the knowledge and intelligence of any one member or part of the system.
- You believe that the system you're operating in has all the resources necessary to meet the many challenges and opportunities that are presented.
- You understand each person as having positive intentions at all times. Especially when what they seem to be suggesting might lead you to think otherwise. Indeed you ask yourself from time to time, "What is the positive intention my counterpart has, that leads them to such a statement or action?"
- You regularly solicit the opinions of others and ask them to correct you whenever they think it would be helpful.
- You are comfortable being at the center, more so than being at the top.
- You are comfortable accessing your intuition, as an alternative source of wisdom, and invite others to do the same.
- You desire to collaborate rather than being in command.
- What you think and feel matches your actions.
- You bring your "whole self" with you to work every day, and recognize that emotional expression is crucial for everyone's health and well-being.
- You recognize the onset of seeming conflict, as a positive signal, alerting you to the need for a shift in relationship.
- You're able to transcend logic and verbal language, to get to the heart of the matter.
- You understand that in a healthy system, emotion and logic tend to balance each other.