The #LockdownLeadership series is a collection of anonymous blogs about leadership during these uncertain times. Share your leadership journeys: confessions… conversations… celebrations… challenges… Reflect on your moments of: courage… compassion… clarity… craziness… Email 500 words to firstname.lastname@example.org to be shared in this safe space.
Be wise enough not to be reckless but brave enough to take risks as the saying goes but who decides what reckless means? Who arbitrates the line between diligence, duty, compassion and the charge of reckless heroism?
Tiptoeing the line between service to my community and managing the risks that this might pose has been a source of angst during lockdown. I’ve been advocating a more proactive approach to getting in amongst the community to ensure safeguarding, food, communications and trust are maintained. I am referring specifically here to the school closure period in advance of Boris’ announcements due on Sunday 10th May. Even with all the health and safety protocols in place this clearly is not a risk-free approach so there is no lack of awareness on this score for me or any of the volunteers taking part. For those who do have, or wish to have, on this occasion, a lower tolerance of risk, I can see why steering a ship into deeper waters might cause you to look askance. I also respect your wishes not to do similar for your school. But here’s the thing, I don’t want or need your permission. I’d love to have your advice and guidance because you do know stuff but not if it is wrapped up in the toxicity of a potentially floundering ego.
Ego. Interesting word. We all have them and they are a necessary function of the Id. I’d say a healthy sense of ego is an absolute prerequisite of leadership as they help you frame the world and we shouldn’t seek to downplay our ego as part of who we are. The power is in recognising it and how it shapes us. One commentator said trying to turn away from your own ego is like trying to run from your own shadow. I am digressing.
Recklessness is considered a vice – rightly so I would imagine. Consider the driver who drives at terrifying speeds down the motorway without a seat-belt or the thrill-seeker who leaps out a plane without a parachute! To be reckless is to have no concern for the after effects. To be reckless is to be rash in decision-making and to be heedless of consequence. There is not a single educationalist right now that I would call reckless.
The accusation of reckless heroism itself is loaded in such a way that it is difficult to counter in the moment. It’s a sound bite rattled off by a snake in a suit. A buzzword used by those without the emotional intellect to navigate the precarious territory we find ourselves in.
I have a job to do, a difficult job to do, and part of that is not to listen anymore to self-edifying caterwauls of ‘reckless heroism.’