Leadership : a meditation
How do leaders manage disruption? What makes a great leader? How relevant is disrupting self? What is role of coaching in leadership development?
There several hundreds of definitions of leadership. One of my favorites is
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” — John Quincy Adams
While the collective consciousness has shifted, we are still stuck with the definitions, practices, tools and models of an earlier century. We borrowed some not-so-best-practices from military to the industrial revolution. Those approaches were relevant to an earlier era. VUCA, Millinneal/Gen Z, artificial/augmented intelligence, etc are the new realities. While everything else has shifted, is it not the time to shift leadership style also, aligned with the times?
- Level 5 leadership by Jim Collins (‘Good to Great’) was perhaps ahead of times.
- Gandhi ji’s definition of a customer is more relevant when brands struggle to keep up with the customer expectations.
The customer is at the core everything we do… internal & external customers.
Some of my favorite concepts linked to leadership are, deeply spiritual:
- #IQ2EQ2SQ: The previous generation of leaders thrived on IQ. It has already shifted to Emotional Intelligence. Thanks to some great work in the area by Daniel Goleman and others. IQ to EQ is almost accepted as no more a choice, but the key to leadership, across all areas. Business, corporate to politics. But the future may belong to Spiritual Quotient (SQ)? With mindfulness seen as key to managing people to managing self, SQ may hold key to holistic success of future leaders? Brain-research to neuroscience is shaking up all the beliefs and bias!
- #I2We2He: It was considered to be a virtue to be selfish/focussed on I/Me/Mine, including my team. While the leadership is making a reluctant embrace of #I2We, the consciousness has perhaps shifted to #I2We2He! S/He here stands for the Divine & the manifestation of the Divine. And that includes Environment, Society, Creation.
Finally, it is what L-E-A-D-E-R may stand for!
L: Love for the Divine (S/He) and the manifestation of the Divine. Alternatively, just ‘love’. Unconditional love, as a state of being. Is that not all encompassing. Unconditional Positive Regard I consider is a variant of the same.
Unconditional positive regard, a concept developed by the humanistic psychologist Carl Rogers, is the basic acceptance and support of a person regardless of what the person says or does, especially in the context of client-centered therapy.
E: Empathy, emotional quotient. It can also be a sincere, selfless eagerness to serve. Servant leadership could be more acceptable, with modifications. Just as Conscious Capitalism is gaining popularity. Capitalism was always meant to be conscious, not in its current format though?
A: Awareness: It has to be… all the focus on EQ & SQ is based on deeper self-awareness. Mindfulness exercises such as meditation, yoga, adult-coloring (a popular category on Amazon!), music, dance, tai-chi, are all variants of the same.
D: Discipline: Self & others. Personal & professional. At all levels. In an era where there are so many distractions, good, old discipline is key to success as a leader. It is also about my discipline in matters related to my work & life — time management, eating habits, sleeping habits (Huffington has been championing this), wellness,
‘Disrupt yourself’ as Whitney Johnson just said at @WBECS2017
Efficiency, Effectiveness, Competence: These are all same at a deeper level, in spite of how management jargon looks at it differently
Are leaders born, or made? Nature Vs Nurture?
Readiness to face the challenge: VUCA is much-hyped. We have got used to it as a way of life. Just as we get used to situations? Disruption is a way of life. We are anyways either disrupting or being disrupted, whether consciously or unconsciously. Better to make a choice? Disruption is scary, lonely too. Be comfortable with that :)
Coaching is partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential (ICF definition)
Leadership from a state of Being can be powerful, transformational & beautiful!
At the core of all leadership is PEOPLE. Unconditional Positive Regard, or still better, ‘Unconditional Love’, would be very powerful, at a very holistic level.
I definitely think it is Nurture. That being the case, how do we nurture our leaders? Old fashioned Training, Mentoring or Guiding? Or the age old, but now almost forgotten Coaching. Coaching was always there. Look at any Master, Teacher, Guru or Avatar. We are just re-discovering.
Other methodologies ignore the part of a person, who is outside work. Not coaching. We are not merely what we are at work. My sense of identity was what I did, for a long time. Till I realized, ‘ it was the biggest Maya’! It was more important to do anything from a state of Being.
Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com on September 14, 2017.