Life and leadership inevitably involve challenges and difficulties. At some point in our existence, each of us faces moments of brokenness.
rue beauty doesn’t stem from perfection; instead, it is the imperfections that render certain moments and places exceptionally special and, indeed, more beautiful. This is Kintsugi.
It’s called Kintsugi , or Kintsukuroi , literally golden (kin) and repair (tsugi).
What is Kintsugi?
Kintsugi, a traditional Japanese craft, involves the meticulous restoration of shattered pottery using gold. The art is grounded in the philosophy that by embracing the inherent flaws and imperfections, a more robust and aesthetically pleasing artwork can be fashioned.
Unlike conventional repairs that seek to restore items to their original state, this 400-year-old technique deliberately accentuates the unique “scars” created during breakage, incorporating them into the overall design.
Utilizing Kintsugi as a metaphor for personal healing imparts a crucial insight: in the process of mending broken aspects of our lives, we often produce something exceptionally distinctive, beautiful, and resilient.
According to a tale, a Japanese shogun sent a unique tea bowl to China for repairs, and upon its return, it was awkwardly mended with unsightly metal staples. In an effort to please the displeased shogun, local craftsmen improvised a more aesthetically pleasing repair, giving rise to the art of kintsugi.
A part of the Wabi Sabi approach to life
Kintsugi represents the core of Wabi Sabi, a Japanese technique for repairing fractured pottery with gold or silver lacquer. This method doesn’t conceal the flaws but turns the damaged pieces into distinctive artworks, accentuating the cracks and imperfections. The repaired items not only retain their history but also contribute to their aesthetic appeal.
7 dimensions of Kintsugi
#1 Impact: Kintsugi leaves a significant impression, urging organizations to undergo meaningful transformations. The specific nature of this impact varies for each organization, but it invariably involves recognizing opportunities that pave the way for meaningful change.
#2 Sealing: Kintsugi is renowned for its transformative healing abilities. It turns broken elements into sources of beauty, a principle that extends to our interpersonal connections both within and beyond the organization.
#3 Artistry: Kintsugi, an age-old tradition, demands meticulous and refined craftsmanship. Similar to various other artistic pursuits, Kintsugi aspires to achieve a level of artisanal excellence. Top of Form
#4 Sustainability: In a time where sustainability is gaining increased recognition, few things exemplify this virtue as profoundly as Kintsugi. The practice embodies a sustainable approach that repurposes existing elements, crafting form and structure around them. It involves valuing discarded objects and infusing them with new life, creating a uniquely beautiful future.
#5 Authenticity: Many individuals find it challenging to openly display their imperfections and vulnerabilities. However, in Kintsugi, concealing these flaws is counterproductive. The authenticity inherent in Kintsugi encourages complete transparency, where we reveal our scars, weaknesses, and brokenness without reservation. This genuine and truthful artistic expression relies on embracing ourselves as we are.
#6 Slowness: In the fast-paced contemporary world, the leisurely aspect of Kintsugi might be deemed less commendable. However, discussing the beauty of Kintsugi necessitates emphasizing the patience essential for unleashing its transformative potential. Kintsugi embraces a slow, patient, and serene approach.
#7 Beauty: The ultimate objective of Kintsugi is to craft beauty. This outcome is achieved through meticulous adherence to all requisite steps. While many may fixate on beauty from the outset, this approach could hinder a genuine appreciation of Kintsugi’s true beauty.
Leadership Kintsugi can be succinctly labeled as “Resilient Leadership.” This term encapsulates the essence of embracing vulnerabilities, deriving lessons from failures, showcasing adaptability, and leading with authenticity and perseverance. Resilient leadership embodies the capacity to navigate challenges, rebound from setbacks, and motivate others to do the same. It underscores the pivotal role of resilience as a fundamental trait in effective leadership.
In the context of leadership, the application of Leadership Kintsugi implies that leaders should not evade their vulnerabilities, errors, or failures. Instead, they should openly acknowledge and derive valuable insights from these experiences, utilizing them as opportunities for personal and leadership growth, ultimately emerging as stronger and more resilient leaders.
How does Kintsugi apply to business?
Kintsugi serves as a profound metaphor for organization to gain valuable insights into their corporate culture. It encourages a deeper exploration, allowing us to delve into the intricate layers of culture within the organization.
- Shift Your Perspective: Kintsugi challenges the traditional belief that failures should be a source of shame. Instead, it promotes a shift in mindset that sees failures as chances for personal development. Entrepreneurs, by embracing failures as valuable experiences, can redefine setbacks and derive lessons from their errors.
- Embrace Imperfection: Leaders embracing Leadership Kintsugi understand that vulnerability is not a weakness but a chance for personal and collective growth. They cultivate an atmosphere in which team members feel secure sharing their thoughts, worries, and obstacles, thereby nurturing trust and collaboration.
- Learning from Breaks: Leaders engaged in Leadership Kintsugi don’t conceal or reject failures; instead, they openly admit their mistakes and motivate their teams to do likewise. They recognize failures as valuable learning opportunities, leveraging them as milestones for continuous improvement.
- Building Resilience: Kintsugi underscores the significance of resilience when confronted with challenges. Entrepreneurs embracing Kintsugi are more adept at recovering from failures, setbacks, and rejections. They comprehend that failure does not signify the conclusion but rather serves as a foundation for achieving success. Cultivating resilience enables entrepreneurs to navigate the unpredictable aspects of business and emerge more robustly.
- Fostering a growth mindset: Leadership Kintsugi promotes a culture of growth mindset, fostering a belief among leaders and team members in the possibility of ongoing learning and enhancement. They offer chances for growth, mentorship, and feedback, empowering individuals to achieve their maximum capabilities.