CTLS: The colors of a leader

What makes a good leader?

And while I’m at it, what is a leader and why do we need them? I don’t know why we need them. Nature is mostly self organizing. Humans aren’t. We seem to need someone to help us go in the same direction. For us, it’s not as simple as having an alpha dog. Humans have lots of things going on, so we have different leaders for different things.

I’m not the first person to ask the what makes a good leader question by a long shot. In fact there is so much talk on that topic that I’m gonna dump that approach right now.

I think a more interesting question is for each of us to ask: What would make me a good leader? And if we’re already good leaders, What would make me a better leader?

  1. It depends. Oh, that’s always my favorite answer! But it’s true. It’s another version of there is no one-size-fits-all anything. Good leadership is situational; it depends on what’s required. A crisis response team demands different things from their leader than an archeological excavation. There are attributes, abilities, skills and experiences that make some people more qualified for a specific leadership opportunity when it arises.
  2. Most of us are leaders in some aspect of our lives. We may not wear an official mantle of leadership and get paid for leading, or get recognition or have a title. Every parent is a leader. Every entrepreneur, volunteer coordinator, sports coach, choir director, teacher, mentor and so many more. By the way, most organizations don’t just have one leader – there’s a whole cascade of leadership, a gaggle of leaders.
  3. In many ways, the most fundamental job of a leader is to bring a team together as a functioning unit (create unity?) and set a clear direction. I think that we have had some amazing, highly visible examples of bad leadership in the recent past. I’m tempted to say that we have a crisis of leadership, but I don’t think that’s 100% true. Let’s just say we can do better.

So if it is true that a) it depends b) we are all leaders and c) we can do better, then I think it’s worth exploring what would make me a better leader. It’s just self-indulgence. Hopefully you feel the same way, because I’m going to be using Color Thinking as a framework to explore this over the next few weeks.  I know that I’ll be interrupting occasionally with other topics, but I’m committing to fleshing this out.

There are themes and insights that tie very nicely to the language and meanings of color. I know that it isn’t an accident that the framework works well. Color Thinking is a fantastic tool for becoming an authentic leader – for all of the same reasons that Color Thinking works for personal development. I invite you to collect the colors that you like and create your own leader’s color palette.

In the meantime, remember these things: You are loved. We are all loved. Let’s all be kind. And in all things – progress, not perfection!

Love and light,


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