Unlocking the Heart and Soul of Remarkable Leadership, Keith Merron
Remarkable Leadership

The Poet’s Corner – A Man May Make a Remark – by Robert McDowell

A Man May Make a Remark

A Man may make a Remark—
In itself—a quiet thing
That may furnish the Fuse unto a Spark
In dormant nature—lain—

Let us divide—with skill—
Let us discourse—with care—
Powder exists in Charcoal—
Before it exists in Fire—

This poem by the Mother of American poetry, and the most widely translated American poet in the world, Emily Dickinson, offers sage advice to those who would be leaders.

How often, in work and social situations, have you spoken out of turn? How often have you regretted something you said, perhaps the moment you said it, perhaps later?

Leadership is all about listening deeply and speaking appropriately. It’s not what you say, but when and how you say it.

People may make remarks, indeed, that often seem inconsequential, but like the spark from flint, remarks may catch and flare up in fire. It is hard work, being so present and aware, and we fall down all the time in the attempt to be just that. But the longer we practice deep listening and appropriate speech, the more supple we become as friends and co-workers, and yes, leaders, too.

The best leaders are the best listeners, the most tuned and compassionate people in the room. They practice equanimity with good grace, and they inspire others with their deeds and examples.