A dear friend, a successful administrator and former executive of a large corporation, asked, “why don’t you carry your message on dialogue to everyone?”
I asked for more information about what she meant. She was thinking of “everyone, everywhere.” So, the more I pressed her, the more I realized that she thought of each person as an island unto themselves and that my message should be directed to those islands.
I immediately thought of Anarchy, where each person is their own leader. Impossible, in my opinion, because headless, we do not exist. A leader is essential, vital, and absolute to a group, including family, the teacher in school, the owner/boss at work, etc. Yet the issue is not that leadership must exist but that the leader must create the best possible environment for their followers to thrive and to be more of themselves.
Here is the rub. From the beginning of hunter groups to this day, most leaders are responsible for the environment they and their followers live in. Family is the foremost of those environments and likely the most important one to how we grow and mix with the world. Still, I know through considerable experience that the growth of the individual into being more their own person and having their own voice is doable. This demands a leader who nurtures those they lead to be as much themselves as they are capable of.
No one fools anyone for long. Even those seriously damaged by their history are capable of change and growth. These are not wishful or idle words. I’ve watched it happen during my considerable experience with children, staff, professionals, and entrepreneurs.
When individuals feel safe, heard, and understood, they open themselves up to change. When they are forced to be closed up by their earliest leaders, it’s not cast in concrete. Those who have learned negative behaviors can unlearn them. Change can and will happen if conditions and events promote it.