Successful leaders respect the “Invisible Line of Freedom”


As a Business Coach, I regularly meet with Leaders, who have chosen to transform their organization, engage people and make a difference in the life of others.

Although being diverse in personality, different in their leading styles and unique in their way to succeed, all these successful leaders have in common three major points:

  1. the deep desire to innovate and to transform what is not working,
  2. the courage and power to convince with their ideas,
  3. the human capacity to inspire and to relate.

In contrast to the “Average Leader”, these amazing leaders are aware of what I call the « Invisible Line of Freedom ».

The Invisible Line of Freedom indicates the frontier, where the freedom of the other begins, where the other is free to choose. Ignoring this line creates fuzzy relationships, mutual frustration, hidden disengagement and useless ambiguity.

When leaders consistently ignore this line, they destroy their credibility, they loose their dignity to lead. 

Here are 3 indicators showing that a leader is ignoring the Invisible Line of Freedom :

  • He believes that others will act accordingly to his requests because he has explained the reason for action.
  • He designs processes to get things, people, change …  under control.
  • He ignores the human emotional and relational complexity, focuses on arguments and is driven by his (unconscious) fear to fail.

We all have our unique specific way to ignore the Invisible Line of Freedom. One of my former ways to ignore this “Invisible Line of Freedom” happened when I had the feeling that my client refuses to evolve despite all the advantages he sees in changing his mindset, action, project.

What is your way of ignoring the Invisible Line of Freedom of your employees, managers, kids …

Now how do successful Leaders manage to respect the genuine freedom of others ?

  • They develop a mindset, which enables them to ask questions more than forwarding answers.
  • They invest the necessary time to choose their meaning of life, they regularly investigate their existential questions, they remain open to feed-back … so that their presence, intention and expectations become clearer, individualized, inspiring and focused.
  • The way they relate, lead and decide is fueled with soul and meaning.
  • They are creating possibilities to encourage freedom to create engagement.

Exercise: How to recognize the Invisible Line of Freedom

  • Imagine a line in front of you.
  • Place it at the distance you feel right for you.
  • Say loudly: Here is the line where the freedom of the other begins.
  • Step beyond the line and take a moment to feel what it means to “violate” the “freedom space” of the other – write down what you feel and what comes into your mind
  • Now return to you own (safe) space
  • Decide what you will stop doing so that you respect more and more the Invisible Line of Freedom.

For inspiration, a speech of a Leader who made the line of freedom his focus point of Leadership: Here is what he tells himself …

« I have the willingness to guide you,
I believe in your capacity to grow and I am confident that you will help others to succeed,
I need your help and your engagement so that we can succeed collectively.

But : I do not have the power to think, act of feel on your behalf.
All what you do is your choice. All what you do is what you choose to do and not to do.
My power stops here, at this line.
We can talk about the line, we can create a collective line, we can move the line, but there is a moment when you have to choose.
And the choice you make is forever yours. And the choice I make, is forever mine.

What is your inner speech helping you to respect the Invisible Line of Freedom ?

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