Thoughts & Observations

The Challenge of Density in Leadership

I was listening to an interview recently with Susan O’Connell, the President of the San Francisco Zen Center, and she was asked a question about how things had shifted once she was appointed to the role as President of the organization.  

Her answer brought forth a word that I had never connect to leadership previously: dense. 

She described how it wasn’t really that the work of being President was necessarily more difficult then work that she had done previously, but that it was that the role was more dense: that every decision she made, every word she spoke would quickly carry more weight and touch more people then it had before she was officially titled as the leader. 

Because even if you insist that people don’t treat you differently or listen to you differently, there is something about the title that causes a shift. 

And yes, that shift can create stress (and this is a great thing to keep in mind when things are seeming inexplicably stressful), but that shift also creates an amazing opportunity positive impact and change. 

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