Leadership is all about engendering engagement in others to work together to achieve some desired outcome. In that sense leading, at its best, is about creating or focusing attention on possibilities. Leading in possibility is a key way to focus attention since it tends to align others in a mutual, inspiring enterprise. For example, when Nelson Mandela addressed the nation of South Africa, as he assumed the presidency of what had been a white-dominated, apartheid country, he said, “It is not our darkness that frightens us; it is our light.” He pointed out a new possibility to all South Africans, that the time to hide each person’s light was over and that all of the people, no matter race or creed, needed to move beyond fear toward being able to shape their own future and step into their power and grace. Here was a vision of possibility that inspired and also aligned focus in the great enterprise of shaping a new national identity and way of being.
The greatest leaders have always used possibility to capture the hearts of those they would lead. Since the mind tends to follow the heart, by capturing the emotional resonance of inspiration, the newly focused minds can support concerted efforts of creation. Leaders create through the use of high level engagement that is engendered through inspiring and aligning others. Leadership focuses minds by engaging hearts, by challenging old limitations in thinking, in perceiving, in working and relating. Leaders are dealers in the currency of possibility.