Does your power promote growth? How often is the effect of our power experienced as space to grow, or as ivy that chokes out the light? Our intention is not enough: it is the action that counts, but we are all held in systems of power that restrict, or direct, our action.
There is only so much sunlight filtering through the forest canopy: when we reach for it ourselves, we block it out for others, but at what cost do we let the light through?
Is part of humility that willingness to share the light? To discard power? To set our foundations not upon others, but within and through others. To find success not in our individual power and rank, but in our collective action and pride?
There is a tense relationship between our individual health, and gravitation towards power and safety, and our collective health: the health of the ecosystem cannot thrive through selfish action, or through inaction, nor through aspiration alone. The forest trees will falter if the ecosystem itself is not tended: if the water is polluted, if the air is unclean.
Collective responsibility can easily fall into an interpretation where it is the concern of others, who we will on from the back. But the humble leader is one who is willing to reach out to pay the price: of equity, of fairness, of our collective good.
This piece forms part of an emerging body of work around Quiet Leadership: an exploration of how we lead beyond heroes, through the individual actions of the moment.