The Art of Leadership

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

Yesterday, my wife and I cleaned out our file cabinet in the home office.  It was quite the J.O.B.  It was a romantic way to spend the evening.  You should try it some time.

During the course of our cleaning we found some cool stuff like old photos of the kids, a receipt for a couch we bought back in 1995 that we just threw away, and a couple of bucks in loose change.  However, something we came across stopped me in my tracks and caused me to pause.  A poem.

I know what you’re thinking … really, Steve? … a poem?  Well, it reminded me of a very unique experience I had back in May 2007 (discussed in the blog – Will We Be Remembered?)

The poem is titled “The Art of Leadership.”  It was written by Melanie (Mel) Gillies, Poet Laureate with the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia.  Mel read this to our group and it still makes me stop and reflect.

So, I wanted to share Mel’s gift with you.

The Art of Leadership

Relationships are the medium of choice
that give the art of leadership its voice.
Animating players in a powerful synergy,
as a conductor of a symphony.

A palette of people and events,
a leader invisibly re-invents.
Painting with different colors and styles,
dissonance become reconciled.

Innovative in building rapport and trust,
a leader must listen and be spontaneous.
When on intuition and higher consciousness, rely,
decisions emerge at the blink of an eye.

Not the right answer to seek
but asking the right questions will teach
by opening up, not closing down
the infinite possibilities around.

Knowing oneself intimately
is the secret to being visionary.
Wisdom is found through spiritual contemplation,
allowing truth to guide, not an hallucination.

Leaders are inspired by principles divine,
limits, rules, procedures don’t confine.
With an awareness that sees beneath the facade
to our oneness as spiritual children of God.

They allow their imprisoned splendor to escape
by fostering others to co-create.
A powerful legacy, they leave.
The art of fulfilling a collaborative dream.

The highest of the performing arts,
for a leader, from the stage, never departs.
A life of integrity and purpose,
finding fulfillment and joy in public service.

One quality can never by compromised
if a leader will endure, prosper, thrive.
Most important by far is the ability
to lead a life of humility.

LEAD Class, University of Virginia - May 2007

LEAD Class, University of Virginia – May 2007