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Quiet Leadership

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Another member inspired my blog for today when she pondered the fact that others considered her to be a "leader" but she wasn't so comfortable thinking of herself in that way...it didn't seem to "fit" her perception of herself. Here were the thoughts I shared, plus a little "bonus"...

"Leader" is one of those tricky words isn't it? Often we can think of a leader as a General Patton taking the bull by the horns and barking out orders.

But I prefer to think of a leader as a person of influence. And when we think of it that way we begin to realize how much impact our behavior has on those around us.

For example when I began to make healthier food choices I realized to resist the tempting treats and snacks that my colleagues were always bringing to work I was going to have to bring lots of fresh veggies and fruits to slice up into a big bowl for healthy gnoshing through the afternoon. My office partner used to have a candy dish on his desk that used to be a big hit.

But day in and day out I quietly went about preparing my freggie bowl and invite folks to feel free to help themselves. I didn't take to the bully pulpit, pick up the megaphone, wag my finger or prosetylize...at least not TOO vigorously...lol!

And yanno? Over time the decadent snacks and treats brought to the lunchroom trailed off into increasingly rare occurrences, even bringing about a finger-wagging from others: "Why did you bring in that CONTRABAND?!?"

And whereas contraband used to vaporize into mouths within minutes in the past, it now sits for hours and sometimes ends up being tossed into the trash (Where it belongs...lol!).

Some of us now get out for power walks at lunch now. More folks are off to their fitness centers after work.

In my own quiet way I see myself as having been a potent influence on this process and feel justified in considering myself a "leader," NOT of the General Patton variety!

I think ALL of us have this power to influence those around us in extremely potent ways! We ALL can be leaders, whether in our homes or beyond!

So many of us know and are so fond of Gandhi's words: "Be the change you want to see in the world." My play with this is to say: "Be the SPARK you want to see in the world!

I enjoyed a lovely 4+ mile walk after an early dinner tonight and was able to take advantage of the lengthening days. I made sure to pick a route with some nice uphill challenges PLUS had a super conversation with my youngest sister while walking part of the way. After finishing the conversation it was time for TUNES and one of my faves came up.

I DARE you to NOT clap your hands, swing your hips and sing along with this like I was doing during my walk... :-)


Near the end of the walk the sun was setting and playing off the clouds in a striking way when my music took a turn for thoughtful, pensive mood which was a perfect fit for this sunset and wrapping up my walk:


Thank you everyone for all your blog support these days! I'm humbled and doing my best to soak up your praise and compliments...like many of you this does not come easily but I've resolved to strengthen my abilities to be kind to myself and to truly take in deserved recognition.

Take care and keep it SPARKIN'!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Quiet leadership can often be the best kind because it's the type that other people can learn from by example. Leadership doesn't have to be dictatorial and it doesn't mean that you have all of the answers. It just means you have the ability to help bring out the best in others.
    1454 days ago
    Excellent. As always! Your description is abslutely on-targe! Alleged 'leaders' who go by the name do not always so well grasp the reality of truly leading.

    As always, your blog links sent me cybering along into a musical journey of sites and sonds! Thank you for this evening's voyage of discovery!
    1457 days ago
    Thoughtful and well spoken as always. Yes there are those with the title, but it pays to pay attention to the real leaders in every situation....
    1458 days ago
    I like your description of leadership. I, too, don't consider myself a leader, and it took all the willpower I could muster to break my sugar habit, especially when the person in the cubby next to mine kept a huge bowl of candy in a prominent place. Later, as I lost the weight, I didn't take the initiative and talk about it. Only when someone asked would I mention SP, eating better, and exercising more. However, like you, I am noticing more people in my office taking walks and eating healthier. Even the holiday party, which used to be a contest for the sweetest, most fattening foods, now boasts more freggie platters and lean meats. So maybe I can think of myself as a leader by example.
    1459 days ago
    You. Are. A. Leader.

    No question about your leadership here. (I continue to notice the quiet way you welcome new members: just one example of many). And clearly in the workplace as well.

    What a great walk that has to have been!!
    1459 days ago
    You do have a way with words and you are a very good leader. Take care and keep on Sparking!
    1460 days ago
    Leadership comes in all different forms. Silent and stealthy is the best!
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    1461 days ago
    I see you're just coming into the interior recognition of a part of you that has loomed large for me ever since we've become friends, Don. The way you move through the world with grace and beauty is a special part of who you are and what you offer to family, friends, and even strangers. You lead by being you, with that spirit of service always there, with that lively, loving way of connecting with others, with that special way of expressing aliveness that translates to ways that we can see potential in ourselves.

    Thank you for who you are and all you do.
    1461 days ago

    Comment edited on: 3/17/2014 11:32:38 AM
  • L*I*T*A*
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    1462 days ago
    1462 days ago
  • KANOE10
    I love that" Be the change you want to see in the world. " Yes, be the Spark you want to see in the world also works. You can be a quiet leader and influence people by your choices and actions. In my job I am the only one who consistently eats fruits and veges and does not indulge in the staff treats. People are always commenting on my lunches which consist of salads with roasted vegetables or exotic stir frys. Much as I get tired of telling people what I am eating, I suspect they want to know because I have kept my weight off.

    I am pleased your office has responded and has made healthy changes!

    You are an excellent influence on all of us!
    1462 days ago
  • 123ELAINE456
    Awesome Blog!!! You are doing Great Job on Leadership in your Office. Keep It Up!!! Love your views on Leadership too. God Blessings Always. Take Care!!!
    1463 days ago
    Another 'like' blog. This is so on target. Thanks
    1463 days ago
    The greatest leaders are those who lead by example. There are many who do just that in the Spark universe, but I can vouch for your real contribution here in real world Broome County. You certainly do deserve the recognition. Bask.
    1463 days ago
    Great blog, Don!!!
    When I have been called a "leader" it only strengthens my resolve to do an even better job of making myself better, so I can show others that it really can be done.
    I see you as a partner on this journey. Always there with support and encouragement when I need it. Thank you very much for all you do.
    1463 days ago
    You are so right about the nature of leadership... it starts with following an idea: to make healthier choices. All it takes is ONE person committed to it, to have others who'd just been wishing someone would... lurking in the shadows, lamenting that the culture was just too ingrained to change. By providing for your own success, quietly, you inspired others and changed your work culture!

    You might not have set OUT to become a leader, but by following your principles, and keeping your promises to yourself... you BECAME one. Embrace it. Cherish it. You rock! emoticon
    1463 days ago
    Magnificent, very wisdom-packed blog, Don! emoticon I think some of us are more inclined to be followers than leaders, and we do so happily (and as part of our nature). But when push comes to shove, we must all really lead ourselves in the end, mustn't we? It's taking responsibility for the self, and ultimately, it helps the rest of the world in ways indirect and direct as well :)

    LOVELY photo!!
    1463 days ago
    Glad you reminded me that it doesn't come easily because you DO make it look effortless, Don. I admire that.
    1463 days ago
  • _LINDA
    Good on you!! Way to convert your office staff!
    Thank you for sharing your wonderful music and walk!
    Spark on!
    1463 days ago
    THINFITRAWKIND summed it up best for me. We don't choose leadership, but it chooses us!

    I so agree with your quiet leadership . . . leading by example. . . and words. It is humbling to realize that with our actions and words we can influence anothers choice!

    Good job you've done.

    Have a wonderful St. Patrick's Day.
    1463 days ago
    Leadership isn't something that one chooses. IT chooses you.

    I was talking to a friend of mine today. She gave me a very interesting compliment. She stated that I am a "way shower". Someone who forages ahead of others. I guess to make certain there aren't any land mines? LOL

    You are in a very good space Don. Truly a very kind person and one that looks upon others with love in your heart. Thank you!
    1463 days ago
    don, thank you again for a thoughtful, uplifting, insightful blog. i think "leadership" can be interpreted much like "power," which can have a connotation of "power over" or "domination," or can be the power of "empowerment," which i find far more effective and long-lasting. "leadership" can also have a connotation of being a dominant force, or, these days, thankfully, it can be seen in more of a "facilitator" role, encouraging, reinforcing, supporting positive ideas and feedback. "leadership" no longer has to be hierarchical, and it can be kind, humble, and tacit. you lead by example, and who would NOT want to emulate you! emoticon
    1463 days ago
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