In previous articles I have spoken about the distinctions of Feminine Leadership and how we are only measuring half of our leadership capacity. Today I want to talk about one of the most powerful aspects of Leading from the Feminine: ‘Leading from Abundance’.
Words: Jennifer Kenny
Leading from abundance is a very powerful strategy for successful leadership. It immediately puts you in the “What is possible?” speculation vs. the “Ugh, how do we win the next battle? Climb the next mountain in front of us? Succeed despite the odds?” One is abundance the other is scarcity. Unless the house is on fire, the plane is crashing or the ship is sinking, leading from Abundance wins every time.
I have just spent the last three weeks in Tasmania – talk about abundance! Stunning scenery, thousands of white sand beaches, turquoise waters, forests, fruit trees, fresh fish, shellfish, fruit, cheese, chocolate, oysters, scallops, sunshine, rain, fresh water, wind, breeze, shade – never-ending gorgeousness, and I am reminded again and again of abundance, real abundance – the abundance of Mother Earth, the abundance of the human spirit.
Leading from abundance is a state of mind that comes from intense gratitude for what we have, for what we have been given. It also requires trust in ourselves and in others. If a leader is leading from scarcity and fear – they will always resort to ‘crisis mode’, even though the house is not on fire, the plane is not crashing or the ship is not sinking. When no one’s life is in imminent danger, leading from scarcity and fear is to put it simply – lazy. Try not to follow (or vote for) people like this.
Leading from scarcity is a state of mind that comes from fear. Fear of what might happen to us, fear that we will lose what we do have and that we will never be able to replace it, fear that there will not be enough to go around. It is a very easy fear create or fabricate, and to tap into.
So how do we lead from abundance?
1. Understand what you are grateful for.
Start by asking yourself: What you are grateful for? Even with the toughest project, the most challenging problem, the tiniest budget and the biggest hurdle – there is something to grateful for. My favourite one is that I have surrounded myself with great people. Start with that; acknowledge that; build out from there.
2. Recognise that leadership is about a lot more than just taking action and making money.
Recognise that leadership, as we know it today, is really leadership for creating corporate profit, all action must lead to shareholder value – and very little else. We have not looked at leadership as creating a different way of being in relation to the world and to each other.
3. Ask yourself and your team how you want to be for the duration of the project.
Do you want to be combative, righteous, critical, over analytical – then lead from fear and scarcity. If you want yourself and your team to be connected, perceptive, focused (in context), leading to creativity and innovation, then you need to lead from abundance.
4. Acknowledge that living from abundance is the key to amplified leadership.
Living from a stance of abundance is the key to amplified leadership. A person who balances their feminine and masculine leadership traits and qualities is on the path to amplified leadership. It is also the key to being in the world in a fundamentally different way, it is one of the keys to leading from abundance.
5. Acknowledge that Maslow had a point.
When Abraham Maslow put physiological and safety needs at the bottom of the Hierarchy of Needs – he was pointing to the Scarcity Mindset. I am certain he never expected us to run our lives, careers and futures from there. Today, many corporations operate from fear and intense competition and so our work environments set us up to do just that – everyday. Maslow put ‘Self Actualisation’ at the top. You can’t self-actualise, be creative, innovate, or truly have others voluntarily follow you (aka be a real leader) if you still operate from a fear-based/scarcity mindset.
Now, you have a choice: Do you lead from fear and scarcity – leading to anxiety, overwhelming, 1:1 competition, hyper-control? This is the default, the easy way. Or do you discipline yourself to live in a mindset of abundance and invite others to follow you as you create space for creativity, innovation, appreciation, context-creation and ultimately excellence.
You will pleasantly surprise yourself and others, and you will produce much more exciting, sustainable and valuable results. You may even put yourself on the path to amplifying yourself and others.