Today I get to talk about one of my favorite colors when it comes to leadership…olive! It’s not my favorite color to look at, even though I love green things, and tree ripened green olives are my favorite kind of olive. But I have learned to love the color because of all that it represents.

Olive is the color of authentic feminine leadership. Olive also represents hope, being free (cured) from bitterness, and loving intuition. It represents cooperation, rather than competition.

The aligned leader attributes (light): You show up as a leader who is not worried about guilt or shame. You don’t judge nor do you feel judged. You are able to show up with a feminine style of leadership, knowing that it is authentic for you, but it doesn’t have to be everybody’s style. You are proactive rather than reactionary. You are generous and nurturing. You trust and follow your intuition.

The aligned leader is not bitter, and doesn’t feed the bitterness and resentments of others. The aligned leader nurtures hope.

The aligned leader is not controlling. You enjoy what you do, and let other people enjoy what they do and how they do it.

The shadow leader attributes: You show up as not trusting your team or other leaders. You are angry, bitter and defensive. You are judgmental of people who do things differently than you would do them. You are suspicious that people are out to sabotage you and your team.

What the shadow feels like to you: You are consumed with guilt and shame. You are defensive because you feel judged. You can’t let go of being wronged in the past, and the bitterness colors so much of how you interpret things. In fact, it gets completely in the way of your ability to trust your own intuition. You think that everyone is out to get you. You feel hopeless. You feel the need to defend yourself in advance.

Guilt and shame are so prevalent among women, because we are programmed to pay attention to all the shoulds. They are crippling, toxic emotions and they really get in the way of being strong, capable leaders.

Of course, you might be a mix of light and shadow attributes. You might be living as a strong feminine leader, but secretly feel judged. You might know your intuition, but not trust it enough to follow it. You might have forgiven past slights, but are still wary that they might happen again. You might be a wonderfully supportive, nurturing team leader who internalizes her own guilt, shame. I actually see that a lot.

Color Thinking questions can help us to let go of the bitterness and shame and to see things differently. Olive questions are primarily for us as individuals, but they impact us as leaders.

Olive questions free us: What if I choose not to feel guilt or shame? What if I examine my the cause of my guilt from an objective perspective? What shoulds can I throw away right now? What if I were never judged again? What if I never judge anyone – including myself – again? What if I don’t make myself wrong?

Olive questions allow us to lead differently: What if I choose to be a different kind of leader? How can I embody feminine leadership? How can I choose to trust? How can I stop being defensive? How can I choose to listen and trust my own intuition? How can I collect evidence to support my intuition? What if I lead with love and trust?

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. Here’s an example or two:

There are no shoulds in my life. I make my own choices.

I choose to lead by love, trust and example.

I have heard all kinds of things about what feminine leadership looks like – some wonderful and some silly. The most ridiculous was flow instead of structure. Seriously? Have you ever seen a woman lead? It’s flow and structure combined to a science! That’s my opinion, anyway. Ultimately, you get to define what authentic feminine leadership means to you. 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,

Maggie

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If you’re interested in using Color Thinking for your own leadership development program, let’s talk. Email: Maggie@maggiehuffman.com

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