Quiet Leadership recognises that the Organisation is like an ecosystem: yesterday i shared a piece that explored this. Today, as i continue writing the Guidebook that accompanies the journey, i consider how none of us, alone, can save the system.
If no one of us alone can tend to the whole ecosystem, then how is the system kept healthy?
Quiet Leadership considers the ecosystem as interconnected, through webs that are largely invisible in their fullest extent: whilst our individual action cannot change the system by force, that action is nonetheless observed at a local level.
The way that we are, the ways that we act, the things that we say, and the behaviours we exhibit, they all land within the landscape.
Each of these things does one of two things: it makes the system better, or it degrades it.
It is a leaf that lands on the forest floor, or a piece of rubbish lodged in the hedgerow.
When we take these smallest of actions, and make the system better, we do not do so simply for ourselves; we create a space for others to gather around.
Our actions help to create a culture that overall impacts the ecosystem at scale. If we make our garden, our field, our part of the forest, better, then others may move in the same direction, as we create a narrative, a norm, a space for behaviour to flourish.
If only it were this simple: the litter of our cultural landscape, the refuse strewn through our organisational ecosystem, is not like the rubbish thrown from a moving car: much of it is neither deliberately cast aside, nor does it visibly represent rubbish.
Because the degradation of our ecosystem does not often occur through bad people doing bad things: rather it occurs because of good people like you and me doing good, but disconnected things, or simply because we do nothing. We look away, or we fail to see what falls in our shadow.
As we explore Quiet Leadership, we will come back, time and again, to our shadow: it’s the mechanisms by which we end up fragmented, separate, in a forest that is dying. Polluted not by intent, but by inaction, not by bad people, but by the impact of all people.