10 Leaders Who Redefine Leadership
Susan K.A. | United States
Leading by Listening
“Leadership is demonstrated by learning the art of listening to others, really listening, and providing empathy. This requires the ability to quiet one’s own mental chatter and agenda in order to let the speaker express everything that weighs on them, uninterrupted, and truly feel heard—to allow their suffering (or joy!) to be felt by the listener.”
It was a conversation with another mom over the sandbox that caused Susan to question traditional ideas of leadership. “Jack’s a follower, not a leader,” said the other mother—a statement that challenged Susan to form her own definition that recognizes the leadership potential of all people.
True leadership to Susan is born from desire to help, serve a larger purpose, or alleviate suffering in some way. Although she rarely thinks of herself as a leader, Susan has nurtured her approach to leadership in tandem with her parenting philosophy. Like tackling issues of justice, raising two sons requires inner strength. “It’s what we choose to do with feelings of anger and frustration that make all the difference in our ability to lead.”
She has put her philosophy into practice while greeting new members as a World Pulse Welcomer. She responds to what other World Pulse members write in their journals with thoughtful and positive comments to make them feel heard and held with love. Her actions and loving presence foster a supportive and welcoming community culture. “If we live in a way that touches what’s best in each other—inspires others to be their own highest self—then we are living up to our potential as leaders.”