The leader’s job

Leadership is about creating tension. Tension needs to be your comfort zone. You need to be completely comfortable curating discomfort in other people. Not out of spite or malice, but because you believe in people’s ability to resolve tension in a positive way. Not out of a desire for control, but from a fundamental desire to unleash the potential lying dormant all around us.

Why? Because that’s your job. Your job as a leader is to create and curate the fields of potential around us. Just like in electronics, your job is to create voltage—an imbalance in charge between point A and point B—that’s what enables the electrons get their flow on. Without potential, there’s no current. No current, and the lightbulb simply doesn’t turn on.

When you point out a difference between point A and point B, or between here and there, you create a space that’s just begging to be filled. You’re creating a room that other people can step into and furnish with their creativity. You’re opening an invitation for someone to step up and resolve the tension.

People don’t follow leaders when they get told what to do. We begin following only when the leader creates a space that we want to fill. We begin following only when the leader points out that the potential between point A and point B is ours to realise. We begin following only when we feel discomfort with the status quo, and we feel empowered to do something to resolve the tension.

As a leader, it’s your job to both cultivate and curate the tension and potential, and then to let go and believe in people’s ability to step up and grow—to expand their own comfort zones, to fill the space, to make the journey from A to B.

We’re waiting. Where’s the space to fill? Where’s this point B we’ve heard so much about?

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