A summary of LeaderShape’s ground-breaking approach to the development of leaders
A lifelong journey that has distinct core elements linked in a unique way
Transpersonal leadership is about leadership excellence beyond the ego. Developing a future (vision, strategies and decisions) that is in the best interests of all the stakeholders connected to the organisation the leaders are responsible for.
A useful mantra to learn as a guide to development as a transpersonal leader is:
1 word: Awareness
2 words: Emotional Intelligence
3 words: Understand your Brain
4 words: Live beyond your ego
5 words: Touchstone “for the greater good”
The basic problem about leadership is that our brains are designed to lead in an environment of stone-age man – one of crisis, danger and survival. This is not appropriate for leading an organisation in the 21st century where organisations and the people within them have moved beyond a primitive lifestyle. Our brain’s natural impulse in today’s times is for leaders to want to change everyone and everything else (ie. new structures, processes and training for the troops). It wants to retain control through a hierarchy. In a society that is changing at an ever increasing rate globally this is not effective or sustainable.
The only way we can lead effectively in a fast changing world is to learn better ways to produce high productivity in a sustainable way. It means letting go of authority and decision-making, and then delegating and trusting others – while still remaining responsible. To achieve this we must learn how to reconfigure our own neural networks in our brain. This might sound threatening but actually we do just this when we learn to swim, to ride a bike or drive a car.
The first we must change within ourselves are our behaviours. We must learn to become more consciously aware of ourselves and the people and the world around us so that we can understand what behaviours we need to incorporate to improve our own performance. This is about developing Emotional Intelligence. Then having decided which behaviours to change we must learn them as habits. Most leaders have one preferred style of leadership but to operate successfully in this more complex world we need to use six styles (each requiring different behaviours) and know when to use each (awareness).
Having achieved that, the next step is to understand how we can use these different leadership styles to develop the organisational culture we desire. We must learn to flex our leadership styles to balance the cultural parameters of power, structure, achievement and support, and ensure a “contract” of mutual expectation with every individual.
Having developed a high level of Emotionally Intelligent Leadership the leader is now ready to embark on developing their judgment and bringing their values to full consciousness. Good judgment, which is critical for excellent leadership, depends on five decision-making processes; rational, instinct, insight, intuition and ethical philosophy. In general, we humans are only trained to use the rational conscious process. Yet most of our real decision making uses the other four sub-conscious or unconscious processes. These inherently have bias and prejudice built-in, so for improved judgment it is really important to bring them to full consciousness and link them more clearly with the rational process.
As a leader we need to look at Values as two separate domains. First of all our Personal Conscience – who we are – and secondly our Self Determination – what we as leaders are going to do with “who we are”.
We all have an ethical philosophy though we may not have thought much about it or consciously use it in our decision making and as a leader. Yet this is the essence of Transpersonal Leadership. Bringing our values and ethics to life by bringing them to full consciousness and using them as a touchstone for everything we do is the final step.
This journey is not linear, is not easy, and has no end. But if you are driven by an ultimate desire to do what is best for humanity and the world – as well as yourself, you can achieve it.
John Knights, Chairman LeaderShape