Leadership and Love

All We Need Is Love

Vidal Chastanet is one of eight million Humans of New York. The four sentences he shared with photographer Brandon Stanton have inspired over 50,000 people to donate more than $1.4 million dollars to Vidal’s school. Why? Simple. Because his school principal, Nadia Lopez, leads with love.

This is a critical time in our human evolution. We are more connected – to each other, our systems and our impacts, than ever before. We are moving on from the era of individualism – the lone wolf – which has enabled us to isolate our intentions and the awareness of our impacts from that of the whole.

As we awaken out of this mode of being, we are realizing that the standard operating procedures of our society are no longer working. Just as Nadia Lopez, Vidal’s principal, informed her students when they got into trouble: the systems and institutions we have built have come to hinder our collective creativity, genius, and capacity to thrive. The message has been that we are not reliable or credible if we come from love. Love has to be left at the door of our workplaces in order for us to be trustworthy, professional, and effective. Heart and head have been separated, with the heart too often being devalued even where we need it most.

So, what are we going to do about it? Refuse to stay separated. Just like Nadia Lopez, we must start with love.

Love might seem illogical, even inappropriate, in our schools and workplaces. Our friend and colleague Jodi Clark, who writes and speaks about love in the workplace, asks us to rethink this resistance, especially in the work of social & systems change:

“We need to bring our best selves to our groups in order to do our best work together. We love our communities, which is why we do this work. If we are trying to create our best communities, then we MUST show up in that work as our best selves.”

“Let’s model what we are trying to create. Love yourself. Love your colleagues. Love your community.”

As we at GRTL are designing programs around Shared Leadership Framework™, we are constantly looking for easy and accessible ways to describe the work. Shared Leadership is about love, trust, and respect. Inspired by Vidal’s story and Jodi’s perspective, at the threshold of Valentine’s day, we are emphasizing the love.

The longer definition of Shared Leadership is the practice of bringing out the greatest capacity in everyone by empowering each individual to be responsible for and engaged in the success of the whole. It is exactly what Vidal’s principal is doing. You see, everywhere we are, we are in groups. And, all too often, we become complacent in the roles, tasks, structures and processes we put in place to get stuff done… whether that is getting to class, implementing a strategic plan, launching a new product, or simply getting dinner on the table.

Shared Leadership asks each of us to step back from the grind to realize and reclaim our individual and collective agency, facilitating more authentic contributions while also co-creating solutions. For us, these solutions are far more creative, brilliant and sustainable than we could ever create using the same old standard operating procedures, which are too often rife with stress, detachment, and resentment. These solutions look like empowered employees, meaningful meetings, and thousands of people rallying to help prove that the students at Motts Hall Bridges Academy, Vidal’s school, have limitless potential. What do these solutions look like for you? Please share the love here.

Like the work so many of you do, these solutions are different, because they come from love.

We Thank You. We Love You.

In case you missed it, check out the recent article on Shared Leadership here!



No responses yet. Launch the discussion.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

While they were saying it couldn't be done, it was done.
— Helen Keller