LEADERSHIP – what does it mean today?

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A True Leader

By Stacy Kamala Waltman

“The ability to perceive or think differently is more important than
the knowledge gained.” ~ David Bohm, one of the most
significant theoretical physicists of the 20th century.

What is leadership and what makes a good leader?

As with many of our perceptions, the definition of leadership has been evolving along with our understanding of the world and each individual’s place in it.

We have historically thought of leadership as a quality that exists in certain people and not others.  In the past, the idea of someone in a leadership position has been a person with a great deal of authority, power, privilege and independence.

When we have this mind-set and search for this fixed type of person, we don’t really see each other.  Instead of viewing what is in front of us, we see stored-up images, interpretations, feelings, doubts, distrusts, likes and dislikes that the other person evokes in us. We’re locked into a frame of reference that can keep us from perceiving things outside our unchecked assumptions.  In this fixed state, people learn to don masks and play predetermined roles void of authenticity.  Evolution from this place is stagnant.

In Daniel H. Pink’s book, A Whole New Mind, he discusses how our society is moving away from the Information Age into the Conceptual Age where leadership is marrying our left-directed reasoning ability with our right-directed aptitudes like design, story, symphony, empathy, play and meaning.

Story, myth, allegory, empathy and relationship are the qualities that a machine cannot replicate. In this way, we are differentiated from our computer counterparts.

Our future depends on understanding the complexities of interdependence rather than a more simplistic notion of fragmented and compartmentalized parts.  A shift is occurring.  The scientific and educational communities are in consensus; intuition, and emotional intelligence are prevailing.  The Harvard Business School states, “Meditation and intuition are the two most valuable executive tools for the 21st century.”

Joseph Campbell wrote about The Power of Myth and its interdisciplinary truths. “Myth is the secret opening through which the inexhaustible energies of the cosmos pour into human manifestation.” ~ Joseph Campbell
(http://www.mythsdreamssymbols.com/herojourney.html )

Our emerging definition of leadership includes the wisdom that there is a more integrated and inclusive way to plan and evaluate; it’s a more holistic perspective than the role models of old.  It’s not a limited mind-set of arrogance but rather a vantage point with the ability to see many facets of the same gem.

This wisdom view of leaders is that everyone has a capacity to lead; it simply needs to be called forth from the collective knowledge base. “Leadership is about empathy. It is about having the ability to relate and to connect with people for the purpose of inspiring and empowering their lives,” says Oprah Winfrey.

According to Joseph Jaworski’s book, “Synchronicity – The inner path of leadership”, today’s effective leader has an attitude of servitude.  The leader who has the wisdom to ask, “How may I serve you?” has the capacity to understand how we are all connected and interdependent.  When one of us is in trouble, we are all suffering. When we view how our actions affect the world, we are operating out of the understanding that we are all links in the same chain.

Leadership is also the ability to be transparent by taking off the masks which were worn in an archaic time by those who were afraid of many things, including change.

The willingness to take risks and embracing failure as a tool for growth and refinement is a valuable asset in today’s leader. “Where you stumble, there your treasure lies,” says Joseph Campbell. 

Ultimately the qualities of a true and effective leader has more to do with a person’s state of “being” rather than their state of “doing”.

This state of being has an effortless quality to it that is steeped in trusting a higher power and allowing the synchronicities of our lives to unfold with minimal effort.

The ability to deeply listen and allow others the experience of being heard is another quality of an authentic leader. They engender trust and show respect by holding confidences close to heart.

Today’s leader is adept at merging their heart and its wisdom with a rational mind and its knowledge.  Leadership in this emerging dynamic has a lot to do with the union of our whole being into the Leadership role.

We are in a time of integration where the individual is learning to merge the various areas of their lives that have been previously compartmentalized.  New skills are being learned and practiced.  The way is not always clear ~ until it is.

The new leader is taking their personal immersion into the business environment and businesses are taking this wisdom into the global economy; shifting the paradigm.  Leadership is a state of being whole and assimilated in an ever-evolving refinement that occurs throughout our entire lives.

As within – so it is without.

The limits to our individual potential and the potential of business environments as well as our world are mostly imagined.  Go beyond what you think is possible.  Find the miraculous in your day – operate in the realm of possibilities.  Live your life with a whole new mind.

For help in moving into a new leadership role contact me regarding my Life Alignment Coaching Program. 

To your great health and happiness!



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2 Responses to LEADERSHIP – what does it mean today?

  1. KamalaYoga says:

    Love your comment, Jim. Thank you! Verse 17 of the Tao te Ching is the perfect compliment to this post’s message. Was just having a conversation yesterday about something similar to this regarding those who plant the ‘seeds’. Unlike the one’s who get to pluck the ripe fruit from the abundant tree for everyone to see, the one who plants the seed very rarely receives the credit or encouragement for their invisible actions. We need them all; the seed planters and the fruit pickers. But in my view, the seed planters are the most noble. They must be so self directed/inspired by spirit that they are able to continue planting when few see their value.

  2. Verse 17 of the Tao te Ching

    There are four types of leaders;
    The best leader
    Is indistinguishable from the will
    Of those who selected her.
    The next best leader
    Enjoys the love and praise of the people.
    The poor leader
    Rules through coercion and fear.
    And the worst leader
    Is tyrant despised by the multitudes
    Who are the victims of his power.

    What a world of difference
    Among these leaders!
    In the last two types,
    What is done is without sincerity or trust –
    Only coercion.

    In the second type
    There is harmony
    Between the leader and the people
    In the first type,
    Whatever is done happens so naturally
    That no one presumes to take the credit!

    I grabbed this Tao verse from one of my blogs. I feel a good leader is often not seen, and yet s/he is the one that works to bring the collective consciousness to a higher level. Some may refer to this type as the glue that holds it all together. It would be hard to find this type of person in society and they are there, for they are the ones that are called forth by spirit to fill a role and do what only they could do based off of there life story. Instead of leading, they follow spirits lead and become what Jim Collins refer to as great leaders or level 5 leaders in his book “Good to Great”
    Great article Stacy!

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