Updated: Feb 2
In my understanding, the essence of being a good leader lies in the practice of love as an action, not just a feeling. The idea that anyone can simply claim leadership for themselves is misguided, as true leadership is granted, not taken by force. It requires a deep commitment to serving others and making a positive impact in the world, rooted in a foundation of love and compassion.
In the words of bell hooks, I hold steadfast to the belief that leadership is not a position to be sought after, but rather a responsibility that is bestowed upon one who has earned the trust and respect of their community. This is accomplished not through the accumulation of power and influence, but through acts of love and service that are rooted in the collective good. When leaders prioritize their own interests over the well-being of those they serve, their power will inevitably crumble as their followers seek out more just and equitable forms of leadership.
As a follower, I seek leaders who understand that true leadership is about putting the well-being of the collective first, even if it means making sacrifices or taking risks. It's about serving others and acting with love and selflessness. When leaders prioritize their own interests over the collective, their followers will eventually lose faith in their leadership and seek out other options. In my own life, when choosing which groups to be a part of, I look for leaders who embody this kind of selflessness and compassion.
Leadership that is rooted in altruism is the foundation of authentic servant-leadership. When a leader prioritizes the well-being of the collective over their own self-interests, they earn the respect and trust of those they lead. Such leaders are not dictatorial, but instead cultivate a spirit of collaboration and cooperation within the group. By acting in ways that benefit the group, even if it means sacrificing their own comfort or safety, these leaders inspire admiration and draw people to follow them willingly. For me, the hallmark of an effective leader is their ability to lead with love, guiding their followers towards collective liberation and empowerment.