Welcome to November, the month of Thanksgiving, and a time for reflection, gratitude, and, of course, a delicious feast with loved ones. It’s a time when we pause to give thanks for all the blessings in our lives. And as we prepare to indulge in homemade favorites and traditional dishes that take a little extra time and attention to create before we gather around the table, I want to delve deeper into the concept of thankfulness, not just for the material things, but also for different people in our lives who have provided non-material gifts in our lives. This includes those who have demonstrated the transformative power of inclusive leadership. We can be thankful for and celebrate those leaders who understand the critical importance of leadership that integrates the idea of love.
Now, I'm not talking about the kind of love that we traditionally associate with romance or affection during Valentines, but rather, a love that is an acronym - L-O-V-E. The L stands for Listening, the O for Observing, the V for Validating, and the E for Encouraging.
Let's begin with the 'L' - Listening. Gathering and sharing as the highlight of Thanksgiving can offer the opportunity for deeper understanding of each other that can only be arrived at through listening and reflection. Inclusive leaders are those who not only listen and hear what’s NOT being said but understand the underlying emotions and concerns. They try to connect with their team on a profound level, and they know that real change begins with truly hearing what others have to say. This is also known as deep listening and it’s something I’d like you to try until we examine the O in L-O-V-E.