Graceful by Seth Godin is the best $3 you will spend this year!
I’m serious. The author quickly takes you through a series of ideas created to help you move individually from defensive, zero-sum, factory-style leadership to a new gift-based, positive-sum, community-style model.
It used to be that leaders were the people “in charge”. Followers did what they were told. Godin refers to those types of workplaces as factories, regardless the color of the worker’s collars. Nothing was freely given; rather it was exchanged, transactional. We exchanged money for labor. Energy? Well energy isn’t always part of the transaction. How much energy do you need to answer the phone, fill out forms, drive a truck or balance the books? We exchanged time for money and the appearance of security.
More and more today, a leader has an idea. They exercise their freedom to act, accepting risk and responsibility. When you act on your idea you may or may not get anyone’s attention. Attention is scarce. The Internet makes publishers of everyone. We can create photos, videos, blogs, books, magazines, radio shows, games and other types of media more easily, cheaply, and quickly than ever before.
Followers volunteer their attention to you and your idea. And as quickly as they gave it, they’ll move it. Do you want your ideas to attract the attention of others?
Graceful leadership serves others and attracts attention.
In the section titled “Mastery, connection and then grace” Godin explains:
The compliant era of the factory encouraged us to be focused on following instructions and fitting in. Some used this as an opportunity to achieve mastery, to get good at our craft, to understand the nature of what we did.
Now we have an opportunity to go beyond that. To connect with one another. To bring surprise and delight and love to the interactions that make up our day.
That will make you graceful. And the work you do when you are graceful is what we need, now more than ever.
How can you bring grace to your life such that you attract the attention of others? What area of your gifts can be used in a way to inject energy in others without thought of reward? You’re being called to master your craft and deliver it with grace. That makes you the new leader. Will you join in that effort, or will you continue to try to run your factory? The choice is up to you.
Get the book. Take an hour and digest it. Let the ideas in the book resonate with your mind and challenge you out of the transactional, control and manipulation mindset. Break away from the org chart. Bring grace to your work and be a graceful leader.