Back to the Color Thinking Leadership Series…let’s talk about coral. It took me a while to come around to coral. It was my mom’s favorite shade of lipstick, and I loved my mom, but it’s just not my visual aesthetic. It was a very bright coral, btw…
Now that I have warmed up to coral, it’s one of my favorites, because coral is the color of community, tribe and love wisdom. It makes sense that this would be pretty important in the color language of leadership, doesn’t it? Leaders aren’t leaders without a community. Love wisdom – that’s going to take some unpacking, isn’t it?
The aligned leader attributes (light): You show up as a supportive, wise and caring leader. You focus on creating a healthy, functioning team. You can see and communicate the highest good – what the team needs to do and be – that’s your loving wisdom. Your people feel appreciated and safe. You make the time to listen and appreciate all the members of your team, but especially those who need guidance right now.
You are not a pushover, you are able to have the hard conversations when needed. Although you don’t love managing difficult people, you are actually good at it.
The aligned leader is also supported by and supportive of other leaders, and works well as a member of the leadership team.
The shadow leader attributes: You show up as a lone wolf, working on your own, disenfranchised from other leaders. You are neither supported nor supportive. Your team can feel that they are out on the fringe, away from the rest of the tribe. Communications, processes and relationships all seem broken.
What the shadow feels like to you is that you are always having to do it all yourself. You feel alone and lonely. You don’t fit in. You are unsupported. Nothing seems to work right. You can’t ever get any help. Your relationships are all unequal. You really aren’t sure how to progress things forward. You can’t seem to tap into your own wisdom, you sure don’t feel very loving towards your team or the other leaders. You’re alone out there on the edge.
As always, you might feel some of the light and some of the shadow. You might be a fantastic leader of your team, but feel alienated from your peers. You might think that you can’t express your love wisdom – even though you can totally feel it – because you’re a woman working in a male dominated environment. (That’s just one specific example of how it could be suppressed.) Developing more of the light attributes of coral will help you feel more like a welcome and contributing member of your chosen tribe – supported and supportive.
As always, Color Thinking questions can help open our mind up to see different possibilities. Coral questions are for us as individuals, leaders and as members of a community.
Coral questions build connection: Who is my tribe? Who do I want my tribe to be? How can I make these match? How am I contributing to the health of my community? What if I contribute differently? How can I get the support I need and want from my community? What are some different ways of asking for support? What are some new ways to be supportive?
Coral questions create balance: What does an equal relationship really look like? What if I have chosen to live on the edge? How can I give more appropriately? How can I receive more appropriately? How can I better support myself if I’m not getting what I need?
Coral questions create loving wisdom: What do I intuitively do well for my team? What do I deeply know about myself and my community? What is the most loving way I can support each member of my team? What have I learned out on the edge? How can I share my wisdom in a loving way?
When you have your answers, use the color life hack. Create a mantra that can quickly remind you of make the changes that you want to make, and the behaviors you want to exhibit.
After spending some time thinking about it, you might decide that you are in the wrong tribe. You might need to make a change. Have your own back as you make that change, because you need even more support when you are in transition. Recognize that even difficult changes can be the loving, wise thing to do. Check in with your loving wisdom. That’s what leaders do.
In the meantime, remember these things: You are loved. We are all loved. Let’s all be kind. And in all things – progress, not perfection!
Love and light,
If you’re interested in using Color Thinking for your own leadership development program, let’s talk. Email: Maggie@maggiehuffman.com