“Out beyond ideas of wrong and right, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”

When Rumi was writing poetry, there was no binary right way or wrong way to do things. There was simply expression. And the outward expression of what’s rolling around inside is a universal experience amongst poets. The interesting truth is, such an experience is also shared amongst leaders.

Leadership and poetry have a few things in common: leadership is about connections, both with self and others. There are certain treasures that we find in the leaders we connect with most, similar to how some poems are particular favorites.

Leaders have shapes, styles, and leanings that are uniquely their own, too. Take, for instance, Fiorello LaGuardia. 

Fiorello LaGuardia was the mayor of New York during World War II and the great depression. He was lovingly called, “the little flower” because, standing at 5’3”, he always wore a red carnation in his suit pocket. His larger than life image, or “his kind of crazy” is remembered around New York to this day. 

LaGuardia was known to go to orphanages and surprise the children by taking them all to a baseball game. When the papers were on strike, he read the Sunday paper over the radio so New Yorkers could know what was happening in the world. His leadership was unique, and he surrounded himself with support and discipline to connect with others. During a time of uncertainty, LaGuardia led by example underscoring that little acts of love make a tremendous difference. Acts of kindness, mercy and love are contagious. 

Identifying what William Vanderbloemen calls “our kind of crazy” in his book, Culture Wins, allows us to notice and wonder how our leadership is an integral part of an organization’s leadership. Because, much like leaders and poems, organizations have shapes, styles, and leans, as well.

During this time of pandemic and change, organizations are thirsty for strong and aware leadership, while leaders are at the cusp of creating new normals. This creating, expressing, and determining our nexts is just what image-bearers do. Because God is always doing something new. 

At Starbucks, the standard greeting one is met with is not, “What would you like?”  or “How can I help?”. Rather, baristas are trained to ask, “What can I get started for you?”. It is with that wonder that we get to approach leadership, too. By engaging others, like LaGuardia, and meeting them in fields, like what Rumi wrote about, we get to start nexts – together. 

Are you ready for a next? Are you ready to make a real and lasting investment in you and your organization’s growth? Then consider inviting a coach to walk with you for a season through the Next Level Leader.

If you’re a reader, you can check out Jeff Cochran’s book, Next Level Leader, and order it here

If you’re curious where you are as a leader, take a free online assessment and see how your leadership styles might be identified.

And, if you want to start immediately, learn more here about the Next Level Leader 360 options and watch this time of change become a time to achieve a new level of leadership.

Betsy Zarzour is a lead consultant and certified Next Level Leader. She has experienced how leaders who move to their next level help grow and produce other leaders, strengthening their organizations and expanding their reach and impact of connection. Click here to learn more or connect with Betsy.

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