“Heart-centered leaders no longer try to cover up their ‘realness’ for fear of what others will think,” writes Nancy Rosenow in Art of Leadership: Leading Early Childhood Organizations, quoting this passage from the classic children’s book The Velveteen Rabbit (Williams, 1958):
“You become. It takes a long time…Generally by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off...and you get loose in the joints...But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
She explains: “Heart-centered leaders learn to stop judging any parts of themselves as ‘ugly.’ They move to a place of greater acceptance and love for themselves first, and then for everyone else in their lives.
That all sounds good, but wow, it’s not easy. It’s a process, not an event.
It was a revelation to me a few years back when I finally understood that the judgments I feared the most weren’t from others, but from myself. I had been living for years as my own worst critic, looking outside myself for acceptance and validation, all the while keeping up an internal dialogue of criticism and judgment. My greatest fear was that others would ‘find out’ about my flaws and come to the same conclusion I had – that I may not be worthy enough, perfect enough or good enough to be an effective leader. The irony is that the fear of facing my ‘realness’ kept me from creating the most real relationship with others. I wasn’t able to lead as effectively because my fears got in the way. Only when I began to risk revealing all of me was I able to move into a place where my leadership became more loving, collaborative, and yes, effective.”
Early Childhood Organizations
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Leadership matters in early childhood. Leading Early Childhood Organizations provides you with practical advice from top experts on leadership in the early childhood arena. Content focuses on the skills required to lead an organization, supervise staff, and manage the organization.
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