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Character Driven Leadership

Posted on July 29, 2016
By Elayne Greeley

Isn't it curious how we realize the same simple things about ourselves over and over (and over again) but that each time it seems like an ah-ha moment?For example, realizing each time how calm you feel after a walk in the woods, or how happy you are every time you put clean sheets on the bed... I keep learning again and again that I draw to understand. If you know me this must sound ridiculous.  You would probably think that drawing to understand would be in the first few lines of my internal dialogue. It is not.
I am a committed doodler and focused note-taker. These skills grew out of simple strategies to capture and control my busy thoughts during long meetings and training sessions. Drawing seemed like a professionally acceptable strategy, rather than knitting, to keep my hands occupied.

EG1.jpgThis simple trace your hand drawing (to the left) was the artifact of a discussion between my brokering mentor Trish Hall and I in March 2015. She challenged me to consider my thoughts on leadership in the context of brokering partnerships.Let me explain a few of the words that came out of this exercise with Trish:

I struggle with acceptance. I thought for a long time that it was because I was just not satisfied with the status-quo and that my challenging of this was a positive driving force. I only believe half of that story now. Sure – I am motivated for innovation and forward progress. I have now moved more into honest acceptance that the context of any given situation is the process.Consideration is a more natural place for me. Being ready to act in a helpful fashion to forward a partnership is an easy direction for me. The upside to this is that I make a lot of small bets and that provides great data to inform where to make bigger bets. The downside of this is that I may be acting in the wrong direction; it’s a bit of a risk, but one that I am happy to take.

I wonder? BAM, Done! Easy-peezy – being curious is my superpower. I could stay there all day.

And, gentleness? Well that as has been the big stretch for the past 18 months. My internal dialogue is fierce and, to be completely honest, not very gentle. I’ve been making some headway in my thinking but its the bolder that needs to be pushed up the hill until I am rolling it along a flat path. I will get there. I can do hard things.

So where am I going with grace, integrity, humility, fairness and curiosity? I’ve used them as 5 reflective questions to consider in my day-to-day brokering role.

  1. Am I acting with grace in a way that draws others into collaborative leadership and recognizes the grace in others?
  2. Have I stood up to my deepest values and reached for balance between integrity and gentleness?
  3. Have I been in service to others and accepted help when needed? (Humility)
  4. Have I been focused on not who is right but on what is right for all concerned?
  5. Have I been curious enough about alternative actions?

What are your reflective leadership questions for this year? Do you always use the same ones or do you mix it up along the way. Would you be willing to share them? I am quite curious!

Please share your thoughts. To see more of my blog, click here

Collaborative Leadership, Leadership, Elayne Greeley

Elayne Greeley

By Elayne Greeley

Elayne Greeley is a community developer and partnership facilitator through the Community Career and Employment Partnership (

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