The way power is playing out right now is just not working.
Our current power structure is based on an old model that was designed to reflect the needs and the desires of just a small representation of humanity. Our view of power has become distorted and unhealthy, and it’s not inclusive of the voices and perspectives in our world today.
What we want is equitable, equal, just, and compassionate power. Not power over, but power with.
What we need is a new system of power that best reflects our shared humanity.
Leadership Equity is personal, community-driven, and systemic power that is used for the service of others and is representative of our diversity.
What Is Leadership Equity?
Similar to financial equity, Leadership Equity is a balance sheet of assets; yet, instead of financial assets, we’re talking about our influential assets: our clout, influence, and position in our communities and the world.
It is the value we’ve built through our work in current leadership platforms.
Yet the definition of equity doesn’t just speak to what we own — it also refers to how we use what we have in this world. The true definition of equity is: “the quality of being fair and impartial.”
True Leadership Equity isn’t used to benefit ourselves and our own communities. Leadership Equity is best used when helping to level the playing field for others.
The three ways in which we can build leadership equity within ourselves and out in the world are within the realms of:
— The World
Our growth, development, and impact in all three dimensions are what creates our Leadership Equity. How we use this equity within these three realms is how we shape our vision of the world.
Leadership Equity in the Realm of I
Everything starts inside the Realm of I.
All ideas start as whispers from our inner voice. These ideas are influenced and birthed by our values and belief systems. What matters most to me?
My truth. My acceptance. Celebration of my stories.
Our individual wholeness is the root of our personal expression in the world. All of us have personal power. Just by being here and taking up space.
For many, drive comes from overcompensation for our not-enoughness. We’re motivated ‘to become’ to hide our fears and vulnerabilities and to un-become what we don’t want the world to see.
But when we source our drive from deep, deep, radical self-acceptance, we can give up the war we have with ourselves, our not-enoughness, and our falling-shorts.
Leadership in the Realm of I starts with self-compassion. When our drive begins with self-compassion instead of a ‘covering-up’, only then can we risk vulnerability, failure, and hard lessons.
Leadership Equity in the Realm of We
We cannot be fully expressed as human beings in isolation. To what end are we doing this work on ourselves if not to take that representation — those ideas, truths, acceptance, and stories — into the world, into our relationships and communities?
When we emerge from our dark night of the soul, we are inspired to lead with the truth of who we are, and to do so with others. Our natural impulse is to share ourselves with others so that we may feel the power of belonging. Belonging is not about fitting in, it’s about fitting with – lending our unique imprint as we fit together with others to make a whole.
We must ask ourselves, “How can we connect with and support others as we are reaching for the stars ourselves?”
But sometimes people are scared of too much ‘We’ space. We’re afraid the people around us will dull our unique gifts or we will go unnoticed by the world.
This can happen – when there’s not enough diversity in the people around us.
If you find yourself scared of ‘We’ space, if you’re finding your gifts dulled within your communities, ask yourself:
Am I swimming in sameness?
While there may be comfort in surrounding yourself in people like yourself, sameness doesn’t have the same chemistry, spark, innovation, and grit as a diverse group.
The antidote to sameness is reaching for differences.
Reach for differences to build teams and communities with as much diversity in terms of:
— Socioeconomic background
Encourage new patterns, new solutions, and new thinking, and you’ll foster true innovation.
When we’re in the ‘We’ space, we need to pay attention to our language, set our intention, and welcome the gifts of curiosity. But above all, we need to place checks and balances on ourselves to ensure we’re creating an inclusive environment when we’re in this space.
Leadership Equity in the Realm of the World
I + We = The World
The Realm of the World represents whole-person leadership, relationships, communication, influence, and impact. The I and
The We create The World we live in.
Our old idea that The World just ‘happens’ and we respond to it is just not correct.
All the roads, the buildings, all the systems that support the functioning of our World are all direct results of efforts put forth by ‘The I’ and ‘The We’. Systems produce the results they were designed to produce. If we’re not getting the results we want, we need to change the system.
This is good news because we have more control than we think to make the world around us reflect what we want.
Leadership in the Realm of the World builds systems that reflect what we want and produce the outputs we desire.
Leadership in the Realm of the World means ensuring our systems are set up for inclusion and equality.
We need to evaluate every system (from our talent evaluation meetings to our hiring processes and our political landscape) to ensure they’re inclusive and that all races, genders, cultures, and bodies have a seat at the table.
We all have some level of clout, influence, and position (even if it’s only within our own families and communities). Our Leadership Equity is the value we’ve built up through our work in current leadership platforms, but also the work we have done on ourselves and in our communities.
What are you doing with the Leadership Equity you’ve built?
Leadership Equity Starts with Connection
Leadership Equity should be used to help level the playing field for others.
Doing so not only benefits others — but it benefits all the realms, from The World to The We to The I.
And Leadership Equity starts with connection.
First with the connection to yourself, to your truth, and knowing who you are. Then with your connection to others. Connection to your teams and to your community and connection to the earth, our world — and all of life. Emerging into being is so much more powerful when we do it with others.
When we structure our lives this way, Leadership Equity stops being the topic of conversation and just becomes the natural order of things.
Leadership Equity is the natural order of things.