Social Leadership: Looking Down

When i was studying architectural history for a while, one of the lessons i learned was ‘always look up’. When you walk along a street, you see the modern facades at street level, but by looking up, you see the history. The tops of building are rarely changed, showing the old facade, and the scars and alterations of decades. It was this thought that came to me as i wrote the ‘5 Things a Social Leader does every day’, but instead of ‘looking up’, i thought we should ‘look down’.

Social Leadership - looking down

Within established systems of power, we are well used to looking up: we look up to our managers, our leaders, to those people who hold strategy and budget. But they are already well catered to within the formal system. Perhaps the thing that we should be doing is ‘looking down’, seeing how we can support, how we can be in service to, those with less power than ourselves. We should do this to learn, to listen, not to teach.

The ways that we act as we ‘look up’ may directly impact our progress through the formal system. But the ways we act, with kindness, as we ‘look down’, will serve you better than ambition. It’s an investment into the community, and that community will bear us forwards. It will hold us safe.

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About julianstodd

A learning and development professional specialising in e-learning and learning technology.
This entry was posted in Social Leadership and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Social Leadership: Looking Down

  1. Rebecca Foreman says:

    Hi Julian – I also think that when you ‘look up’ you should do so with kindness too. Managers and leaders are people too and they often are expected to go over and above with little or no recognition! Kindness should be a keystone of all interactions!

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