• Josh Bulpin

Love in Leadership

I’ve worked in Leadership – both in the office and on expeditions in wild places around the world for the last ten years.

Leadership is something that fascinates me, and has on more than one occasion led me down rabbit holes of theoretical exploration, jargonistic exclusivity and not a little bit of mysticism. And here I go again.

There are so many “bits of advice” floating around about how to be a “good” or “authentic” leader - do this for your team, do that for your team, do a performance review in this way, or that way - don’t do a performance review... be vulnerable, be stoic, start with why… it’s often pretty over complicated. I’ve written and and imposed a few “new” leadership approaches myself. Oh the irony of writing this.

I’ve written models, re-hashed theories, and I’ve read loads more, from Lao Tzu to Simon Sinek. And when I stop over-theorising or reading brilliant wheel re-inventing versions of the same thing and step back, I realise it’s incredibly simple, for me at least.

My conclusion (so far) is that Leadership boils down to one thing; Love.

Love means we love people, we meet them where they are, we learn who they are, we make space for them and we applaud them for who they are as an equal and uniquely valuable member of a team with unfathomable possibility within. We learn from them and with them, we let them go. We watch them fly further than our imagination. We make space for each others needs and dreams. We respect each other with our thoughts, experience, and our own humanity. And we appreciate being heard. We explore together and we grow together. We're all human.

It also means that we're open to honestly and kindly calling each other out.

But that’s not corporate, it’s a bit emotionally real. It’s not cool. So no one says it. We dress it up in jargon to create a sense of reasoned importance. But that’s it for me. Leadership = Love. The end.

Josh Bulpin - somewhere afloat - December 2020


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