In this week’s show I discuss what it takes to become a reluctant leader. Hint; it’s not the desire to lead.
I have used the term quite a lot over the past year or so but have never really clarified what I believe it to mean. I think we all face moments in life where we are faced with the choice to take a reluctant leader role, whether or not we aspire towards leadership.
I have always been much more comfortable at the side of leadership, playing this consiglieri (counsellor/advisor) role to others. And I’m sure that this is probably the case for a great many introverted and highly sensitive creatives.
This may well be a reason we can find it difficult to put ourselves and our work in front of others. In producing creative work and promoting it you by default assume a position of (reluctant) leadership. We become leaders as soon as we make the decision to create.
Richard uses the term reluctant leader to describe people who are put into positions of leadership when they don’t want it.
He cites the example of Sachin Tendulkar as someone who was a very reluctant leader. He retired at the end of 2013 after a career as one of the greatest batsmen to ever play cricket. He had two unsuccessful terms as Indian team captain and was offered a third bite at the cherry later on but turned it down, suggesting another player for the role instead.
He felt comfortable as vice captain. In that position he helped build strategies and developed ideas for taking the team forward. He also returned to playing his free-flowing, natural game, scoring the runs that had dried up during the periods of captaincy when he had the weight of reluctant leadership on his shoulders.
Another Kind of Reluctant Leader
Have you ever noticed something that needed changing or fixing, or moving that it seemed no one else noticed?
What did you do? Did you pretend you didn’t notice, like everyone else? Or did you do something about it?
Reluctant leadership is our response to noticing things.
It is the small and simple act of catching a cup when we see it is about to fall off the edge of a table.
It’s acting upon those things you notice. It’s taking responsibility for how we perceive the world by doing something small to change it. Not blaming others for keeping things how they are.
This is the essence of creativity. We act, albeit sometimes reluctantly when we see something in the world that doesn’t sit right.
It’s our response to ‘the niggle’ (the internal voice that notices when things need changing). How to you react to that voice?
Music: Lowercase Noises