A Man Can't Lead Well If He Can't Follow
Nov 10, 2021
A man can’t lead well if he can’t follow.
I learned this the hard way after being immersed for several years in the illustrious world of sexual polarity as taught by some of the most high-profile teachers in the industry.
Like many other well-meaning men, I was seduced by the hype about being a more confident masculine leader.
For most of my adult life,
I struggled to be decisive.
To have a clear sense of direction.
To own what I wanted and to have the courage and the tenacity to go after it.
In both intimate and professional relationships
I hid my needs.
Played small and safe.
Pandered to others in a way that was least likely to have me disliked or rejected.
I was a conditional leader.
It was either,
I’ll take the lead if you validate me every step of the way.
We’ll do it my way and you can f#*k off.
I do believe that there’s tremendous value in the current calling forward of healthy, integrated masculine leadership in men.
We’ve entered an era where the fear of being labeled an aggressive misogynist has created multiple generations of passive men, that are afraid to assert themselves and walk on eggshells with their balls tucked between their legs.
And we’re all familiar with a more destructive form of masculinity that is posturing the ideas of manhood based on dated gender roles.
This version of a man overcompensates and needs to dominate to be in control, which is rooted in fundamental insecurity in their value as a man.
I’ve still got these parts too...
What I’ve learned about leadership over the past several years is this.
A good leader is a tracker.
He pays attention to body language,
tone of voice and pace of speech,
the dilation of the pupils and flicker of the eyes,
the depth of the breath,
the constriction and relaxation of the muscles,
the orientation of the body,
the unspoken content that exists in the in-between of the relational space.
A qualified captain of a ship will not attempt to use brutal force to navigate a treacherous sea.
He is reading the waves,
He’s aware of the capacity of his crew.
The strength of his vessel.
And the weight of his cargo
This dialogue and interplay between the elements of the environment and the structures he has at his disposal,
are all informing his choices.
Yes, he likely has a plan and a direction.
But exactly when and how he arrives there, lies in the realm of uncertainty.
Quality leadership doesn’t happen in a vacuum.
It’s a feedback loop.
It’s true that when someone provides an air of competency and certainty it can bestow a sense of safety.
But in the relational space and on the world stage,
we often find ourselves in uncharted waters.
This has been quite apparent during Covidian times.
It’s easy to conflate the idea of masculine leadership with being responsible for making all the decisions,
as if your masculine superpower was to always know what’s best.
Healthy, integrated leadership is an attentive dance of presence that moves with the changing tides
and sometimes needs to risk it all and steer through choppy waters.
It might involve bailing the water when things get too messy.
A good captain doesn’t abandon his ship.
That means he takes ownership of his choices even when he’s sinking.
The world is not in need of more men that think they have it all figured out.
The world does not need men that have their compass calibrated to match their egoic needs and desires.
The current ask for leadership is really an ask for men to take the risk of choosing a direction.
Not always, but where there is the capacity to do so.
Men that can lead and fail, and be accountable to that failure without drowning in shame are men that have the emotional maturity to move towards Kingship.
To have the humility to hold failures and foibles with the grace, space and the wisdom to learn, adapt and grow from them.
To drop the need to defend,
and to make a recovery in the gleaning of insights from the consequences of his choices.
It’s a powerful intersection between bravery and humility.
Your value as a man is not based on your track record of competency.
It’s in how you meet the moment with courage, consistency and integrity that makes you a man worthy of following.
Masculine leadership is not perfection.
It is direction and course correction.