According to Erhard Werner, et al. (2013) presented to us that “a context has the power to shape the way a situation occurs for you, and that your way of being and acting are naturally correlated with the way in which that situation occurs for you” (p.248). In short, context is the lens by which we see the world and our experiences; it is the determinant for the way we will decide, circumstances and the nature by which our actions will be based.
The context of leadership is based on the person’s nature. It is based on how one sees the world. We can determine the context of our leadership. Our leadership context is not something we do; it is who we are. Werner Erhard said that our lives are shaped by a principle that we possibly acquired in our childhood, which then determines our lives’ content, and limitations. Picture a box that contains our lives (Earle, 1980). It surrounds the way we act or react to things, people and events and we, even our self- expression, are determined by it. In fact, this box is where we view our lives.
When you are moving houses, when you label a box with “Living Room” then all the contents of that box will go into the living room of your new home. If you place a vase in this box, the vase will go into the living room. But if you put that vase in the “Kitchen” box, then it will go to the kitchen.
What’s the point? You can determine the contents that go into whatever box. But, as you decide the context by which each content go into, you are creating for this content its purpose, its meaning, and even its significance. You have the power to determine what contents go into your life. You have the power to choose what box you place these contents in. You can decide what kind of a leader you are. But the point is, you are always a leader, no matter what position you hold in a group.
We can be poor leaders. We can be leaders who are limited by our past. Some examples of limiting boxes that we have created for ourselves include the words that have been spoken to us and are haunting us most of our lives. The words like: “I have to do this so that I will be,” or “I need to win,” or the simple “I must and I should” are just some of them. However, these words that we usually say to ourselves stem forth from a root that all of us probably heard from our parents or elder siblings or the people around us when we were still young and some of these are, “Just play it safe,” “Always be nice to others,” or “Do this and don’t do that” and a lot more. Knowing the presence of boxes in our lives and our awareness of how it contains and even manipulates us until we become mere byproducts of the things outside us.
Context is decisive. It can decide to be what it believes it can be. That being said, you must know that you are capable of breaking boundaries. What is considered good today, you can still improve. The context we live by determines who we are as leaders.
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How are you operating as a poor or powerful context of leadership?