First THINK, FEEL and INTUIT like LEADERS ...
There is an explosion of articles on leadership. For valid reasons, because we indeed need leaders. Everywhere.
Now, everyone has an idea, and many of those ideas make sense but this post is about warning ourselves that we should not copy-cat successful leaders in what they do, or should not blindly follow their words or leadership styleswithout understanding what goes on in their minds and hearts... and that unfortunately is a lesser known, more-difficult-to-teach secret.
We must learn to THINK as great leaders do, we must learn to FEEL as they do, we must learn to INTUIT as they do. True leaders are aware, compassionate and considerate. They are well-informed and knowledgeable. But they also have a sense of situation.
What is right in one situation cannot be appropriate in another. Leadership is not just a theory that can be learned merely intellectually. Leadership is situational. The guiding precepts, the ethical undercurrents, the larger picture, the overall purpose do not change but the way they are expressed / implemented may change entirely according to the need of time and place.
And this is where the mistakes occur. Study the life of any great leader - in business, in the history of nations, in religion. You would find apparent contradictions : in one case they said and did something, quite likely in another similar looking event , or to another individual, they said and did something else.But in spite of seeming contradictions, they had harmony within. The objective was always the same : the good of all concerned.
For examples, take the lives of Shri Krishna and Jesus Christ. The former behaved differently according to situation, and not according to set thumb rules. Non-believers who do not see the situational wisdom may fail to appreciate some moments of this great avatar, but in reality there was always peaceful harmony, great goodwill for all. Even the demons he killed were mercifully liberated after they bore the fruit of their karma as elimination by the avatar's hand.
Jesus too was so powerful and yet so humble. Just think, he who could meekly take the crucifixion with a prayer to Heavenly Father to 'forgive them for they know not what they do' - to set an example of forgiveness, even though he had countless angels at his command to come and fight for him, did show a powerful righteous indignation and a fiery will to drive away the money-changers / traders from the place of worship, when many requests had failed.
Note : Pic and text above are from my Master's 2-vol commentary on the Bible, 'The Second Coming of Christ' (www.yogananda-srf.org and www.yssofindia.org)
Or compare the firmness of Gandhiji that the foreign rule must end, even with his great compassion and saintliness to all alike, including his adversaries.
Or take the life of modern leaders such as Jack Welch. Some of his actions appeared so contradictory. He did not deal with all people in the same fashion. In his book, 'Straight From the Gut', he says, 'In manufacturing we try to stamp out variance ; with people variance is everything'.
No two persons, no two events are exactly identical. Life is too complex to be governed by rigidly set rules. My master says that in the great panorama of events and experiences, there is scope for developing discretion or discriminative understanding. And that's the key.
So if we just blindly follow what leaders say or do, without understanding the motive - the purpose - the thoughts and the intuitive feelings that went behind those words or actions - we may err greatly.
So the safest course in leadership development is to learn to THINK, FEEL and INTUIT like leaders. We must get wisdom and that is a lot more than just information or knowledge. It is intuition that gives leaders the vision they have, and that again is a lot more than just rational deduction.
And since leadership development is for everyone - not just a select few at the top - everyone should learn to think and feel better, think wisely. We now need thought-based, value-based leadership in place of positional, hierarchical and rule-based leadership. We need leadership at all levels.
And for that to happen, we need introspective reflection and intuitive understanding which comes best through daily meditation. I just came across this article on the web that lists 76 benefits of meditation in detail :
Every leadership training prog must have a post-training one-to-one personal coaching / mentoring support - and thanks to technology, that can be online now, because a 2-day or 3-day training cannot transform the way we think. It's a process that needs plenty of coaching.
Thought is the mother of all speech and action, and it is our VALUES that decide the level of our thought. Leadership in thought is the mother of leadership in action ; unless we think and feel like real leaders do, we should not even try to talk or act like them.
www.hansyoga.com // Personal Leadership Coaching online, Blending Science, Management & Spirituality.