Definition of a Firebrand Leader
To speak your truth, seek first to listen. To expand your personal power, seek first to be of service to others. These practices are two of the ways in which a person becomes a wiser leader. Many of us are already operating (or ready to step up), as inspirational leaders, yet do not recognise the significance of our role, nor properly recognise that the title of leader really applies to us! To encourage people to more deeply nurture their leadership spirit and potential I regularly host a strategic leadership forum.
If you do not yet know the full depth of your capacity to transform your life and serve as an illuminating leader, then perhaps you might resonate more easily with the role of “Firebrand” espoused by author Clark Moustakas (see his perspective below).
What does a Firebrand Leader Look Like?
“THE FIREBRAND is the person who recognizes what is natural, what is organic, what is alive and vital in life, the person who dares to live, to be, and to create, often in the face of interference, rejection, deceit, and betrayal. The firebrand is a burning ember, life that is in each of us and that provides the spark and energy to speak against what distorts, hides, and denies our being and truth.
It is that which awakens within us, when we must declare our independence or when we discover a new formula for living. It is the path that enables us to participate in the mystery of creation, uniquely and individually. The firebrand expresses her- or himself in two basic ways: as the torch that lights up the darkness, and the as the carrier of the torch, throwing light into the darkness, and often disturbing complacency and brewing trouble. Being a firebrand is a way of raising temperatures and creating conflict, turbulence, and dissension.
“The motive of the firebrand is not to attack or destroy others but to bring to light a basic truth, to take a stand, and to declare and own who one is, especially in the face of perceived violations of one’s values and rights and interferences with one’s goals, purposes, and meanings.
“In relation to one’s self, the firebrand engages in reflection and self-dialogue that evokes awareness of ideas, projects and goals, insights into one’s deviance from others, and particularly from mainstream people. The firebrand chooses to be different when being different represents a truth, when being different guides the fulfilment of basic human values and actualization of one’s potentials.
“In relation to others, the firebrand seeks to maintain what is unique and distinctive, what will enrich a relationship and keep it alive in fundamental ways. The firebrand avoids roles, categories, classifications, hierarchies, fixed routines, and practices but rather seeks to create rituals, searches for new rhythms and connections with others, keeps secrets and confidences, and engages in conflicts and intimacies when these are true to experience, when these are ways of enhancing life. The firebrand is concerned with being open, honest, adventurous and creative. If none of these processes are viable, the firebrand terminates the activity or relationship and moves on.”
Clark Moustakas (1995). Being-In, Being-For, Being-With. Lanham:Jason Aronson. (pp 5-6)
Whatever the labels you choose for yourself, if you desire to use your personal and positional power to do good in this world, then you are the type of leader likely to most benefit from our mindful leadership training program.