PUBLICATION - Spiritual approach to leaders and leadership

SPIRITUAL APPROACH TO LEADERS AND LEADERSHIP

 

The highly dynamic world economy demands from its players (states, institutions, companies and other entities) to continually keep up with the process of updating and adapting to the newly emerging circumstances. The obsession with performance, implying the as-large-as-possible profits on a mid to long-term basis, puts today’s leaders before a great challenge, irrespective of the contexts they happen to be operating in (i.e. presidents, ministers, directors, CEOs and managers). And as if that’s not enough, what is on a day-to-day basis becoming an increasingly more important fuel in addition to the usual driving forces behind this great engine (which are namely fear, greed, material wealth/wellbeing and power), is our need for good health and a healthy life, for being active and doing meaningful work, for creativity, for reputation, for love. However, among all these, the most important place belongs to our need for self-realisation.

Managing oneself and others (individuals, groups and a wider community) or rather managing their motivations and behaviour, has become the most important element of operating a business or any similarly structured organisation. It is by addressing this issue correctly that it becomes possible to directly influence the results of business transactions as well as the material wellbeing of all, but equally it provides the means to penetrate right to the deepest essence of being human, into that very something which makes us the beings different from all others – our capacity to consciously realise our own potential and that of others. Therefore, this is the most important task of a leader endowed with spiritual character. Such a leader ought to create the conditions that encourage the processes of self-realisation in his/her followers, the processes which enable the realisation of this urge to self-realise, an urge particular to all human beings.

A hard task is thus put before the leaders – first to create in themselves harmony between the spiritual and the material, and then to pass this harmony on to others. That is why this book is primarily aimed at leaders, but also all those who are in search of the Truth within.

 

Although this book is based on an extensive experience acquired over many years by working directly with leaders, it has been underpinned by a strong scientific research. The research was carried out within a project aimed at establishing the actual effect of meditation on the emotional competences and satisfaction with life in leaders. The project and respective research lasted several months inclusive of collecting the data, statistical analysis and data interpretation. The goal of this research was to examine the effects of meditation and to present the differences between those leaders who practice as opposed to those who don’t practice meditation.

The instruments used in the research were standardised psychological tests designed to measure the emotional competences of leaders and their satisfaction with life. Three groups of abilities were being examined: ability to acknowledge and understand emotions; ability to express and name emotions; ability to regulate and direct emotions.

The test designed to measure one’s satisfaction with life consisted of five statements.

The segment covered by the research contained 210 leaders who were also meditation practitioners (106 men and 104 women) and 215 leaders who did not practice (110 men and 105 women)

 

- Basic conclusion:

a.     There is statistically significant difference between those leaders who meditate and those who don’t in regards of the three components of emotional competence. So much so, that we could safely conclude that leaders who meditate more easily notice and understand others’ emotions, are better equipped to express and name their own emotions and are more able to regulate and direct their emotions.

b.    Those leaders who were practising meditation had statistically achieved significantly greater results on the scale of contentment with life from the non-practitioners.

c.     There is no significant difference statistically speaking between the two sexes in emotional competence and satisfaction with life.

d.    “Meditation experience” (years of practicing) and an intensity of meditation, meaning the number of weekly sessions and hours of meditation, do play a significant role.

e.    On average, an increased “meditation experience” renders the results over all three groups of tested competences greater, i.e. an increased ability to notice, understand, express, name, regulate and direct emotions as well as greater contentment with life.

f.      On average, with an increased intensity in meditation (weekly frequency) the results in the first group of emotional competences (ability to notice and understand emotions) had also increased, including those regarding contentment with life. Hence, greater the intensity in one’s meditation practice (weekly frequency), greater the ability to notice and understand emotions and to be contented with life.

 

1. DEVELOPMENT OF LEADER AWARENESS

 

An integrated leader (whole, complete leader) requires an integrated approach. In order for someone to become an integrated leader, one must bear in mind the following:

-       Leaders are made, not born, although a certain genetic potential does play a part. For example, the traits expressed through IQ are primarily predisposed through the genes, while the EQ and SQ traits are formed during one’s life and as such become a permanent asset.

-       The necessity for connecting the individual aspects:

·    physical (care for health, at least as much as it doesn’t obstruct other activities)

·    mental (focus of thoughts, or rather elimination of all superfluous mental contents, other than those that serve a leader’s purpose)

·    emotional (harmonisation of emotions and harmonisation of emotions and thoughts)

·    spiritual (reflection on Truth about oneself and one’s surroundings, an accord between thought and action, between one’s being and one’s surroundings, insisting on happiness of all).

-       Emotional and spiritual habits have been learnt/established. A favourite state of mind dominates over the emotional and spiritual structure, either forming or destabilising emotional and spiritual harmony.

-       Leadership as an instrument for self-realisation and communication is something one learns and keeps learning during one’s life and therefore it can always be developed and updated.

 

We observed the following aspects of the development of leader awareness:

-       primary potential of leaders,

-       motivation,

-       a way of awareness (or an authentic approach to oneself),

-       method,

-       a way towards change (or the process of development).

 

 

1.1. PRIMARY POTENTIAL

 

Each one of us carries the force of our essence within us – that which we originate from (the Absolute, the Reality, Universe, Self, “I-ness”) and which can be recognised in the time-space through the primary human potentials such as:

 

-            Rationality, i.e. an ability to understand various processes, our own and those of others, as well as the so-called “objective” world (by noticing the cause-and-effect principle between people and events, or rather those within the processes in the manifested world). At the root of this ability is the mind, or rather its constitution:

-   one’s primary experience of his/her own existence (the thought: “I exist”), or rather perceiving oneself as an individual separate from others and from the world , and at the same time interacting with others and the world;

-   the dualistic matrix which lies behind the functioning of the mind, “positive – negative”, “good – bad”, “up – down”, “left – right”, the very basic among them being the experience of “pleasant – unpleasant”.

 

-            Exchange of vibrations, i.e. an ability to give and receive love, as being the origin of all other emotions. Love, or the awareness and the resulting knowledge of one’s own existence, is the source of all emotions and thoughts. Exchange of vibrations at its root represents an exchange of experiences and of knowledge (irrespective of whether the term be defined from a scientific, religious, experiential or spiritual point of view).

As life unfolds, we tend to perceive it following the principle of duality that appears to exist between various concepts, while the interpersonal communication gets realised through the exchange of experiences.

The primary experience – that of one’s own existence, creates an illusion of separateness. In this way one forms an impression of an exchange of vibrations between oneself and others, which is essentially false. Bearing in mind that others (just as our surroundings) are in fact only our own projections, the so-called exchange of vibrations is nothing but the movement within our own mind, where one part of it (the so called partial mind) communicates (exchanges vibrations) with yet another part of the mind (again, the partial mind). The pinnacle of this process is reached through creative empathy. [1]

 

-            Spontaneity, i.e. an ability to enter a flow-state by wilfully harmonising the so-called mental mind with the working mind. The functioning of the mental mind (also viewed as the thinking mind) is directly based on the principle of duality and on the reactions that result from the processes therein. Thus it (the mental mind) conceptualises, arranges, compares, doubts, asks questions, imagines, judges, or on the other hand it feels anger, sadness, it suffers, hates, gets enraged, worries, becomes curious, jealous, often bored, and so on, and on, and on... Mental mind is a direct product of one’s identification with the physical body and the mind (emotions/feelings and thoughts), i.e. the “false self”.

 

Working mind is that which, while using the mental, thinking mind, enables us to enter flow-state – a state of giving oneself entirely to and identifying with the activity at hand. For example, in the case of a painter, the thinking mind will choose the canvas and the easel, it will decide on the subject and begin to paint. After some time, having thus engaged also the working mind, the painter will enter the flow-state where finally his or her hand will move as if being “led”. Often artists claim that they don’t exactly know how or why they have painted (created) something, but rather they report that something had indeed led them, or simply that it just came to them. Either way, what essentially takes place in these situations are no less than the processes of self-awakening, the instruments of which (namely thinking and working mind) are the ones responsible for the realisation of the picture.

Spontaneity, referring to one’s ability to wilfully enter and remain in the flow-state for a given period, is a natural process in us all, and as such is particularly expressed in small children.

 

-             Urge to self-realise: besides an urge for self-preservation (an urge to live) and for procreation (a sexual urge), this is the next most important one. Unlike the other two, this urge is particular only to human beings, and in most people it starts to manifest from the age of 32-42.

 

-             Ability to believe: this is another trait particular only to humankind. From it derives our potential for dedication and devotion. While the mind is still at its base, here the devotion has a harmonising effect thus giving it a new quality (but only if the devotion is aimed at seeking the Truth). This process of dedicating/devoting (directing) the mind as the result has the actual awakening of the mind, or rather its transformation. The process of transformation of the mind assumes the following:

 

-       Serenity of mind, i.e. serenity, lack of attachment, absence of fear, freedom from goals, from duality and a sense of enchantment, a continuous directing of emotions and thoughts towards the Absolute (Reality, Universe, Self, “I-ness”, God, etc.)

 

-       Awakened engagement of the mind, i.e. a constant, optimal process of expressing and interconnecting the manifestations of consciousness (life, time, space, an individual, spirituality), at the base of which is love for the Truth in oneself or love for one’s own essence.

 

 

1.2. MOTIVATION

 

In context of the development of awareness, motivation has two aspects: a general one common to everyone, and the one that’s particular to leaders and leadership.

 

1.2.1. General motivation:

Basis for motivation:

·      recognising the urge for self-realisation;

·      recognising the process of self-individuation (self-realisation)

·      self-realisation as the basis for self-motivation

 

Self-awareness:

·      self-investigation or knowledge of oneself; in other words seeking the answer to the question: Who am I?;

·      recognising, channelling and realising one’s own potential;

·      recognising and enjoying one’s own originality.

 

Self-realisation:

·      self-motivation through striving towards realising oneself and one’s potential;

·      recognising one’s own positive and negative character traits, as well as one’s own positive and negative behaviour;

·      seeking the answer to the question: Who am I as a particular individual?

 

Self-acceptance:

·      accepting ourselves as we are, without judgement, pity, excessive pride or excesses of any other kind;

·      forgiveness for anything negative oneself or others might have consciously or unconsciously done to ourselves and/or others;

·      accepting life as it comes, without calling upon the destiny or the Universe in an attempt to account for what is happening to us.

 

Managing oneself:

·      becoming aware of the urge for action as that which is at the root of every emotion, that this urge is the initial impulse of any emotional process;

·      transforming the mind for the sake of taking responsibility for one’s own emotions and thoughts, given that they carry their own consequences;

·      channelling one’s own potential and abilities in an optimal direction (selective activation and action)

 

Channelling one’s relationships with others:

·      ranking and accordingly placing oneself with others and vice versa;

·      striving for someone to be understood and accepted as they are;

·      striving to be honoured, to be treated fairly.

 

 

1.2.2. Specific motivation:

 

Self-development, in the sense of one’s continual development through education (explicitly) and through life situations (implicitly).

 

“Inner power”, as an ability to channel one’s skills and talents as well as their application as at home, so at work and in one’s broader surroundings.

 

Development and expression of creativity, as a fun activity that fulfils us by bringing us into the flow-state.

 

Dedication to ideas, visions, the given organisation/institution or group.

 

Helping others, as an instrument in one’s self-development, self-affirmation and self-discovery “tool-kit”.

 

Material wellbeing, as for oneself, so for others.

 

 

1.2.3. Leadership as a motive:

 

An instrument of self-realisation, including an overall development of one’s personality through one’s family, organisation, institution and wider community.

 

A sense of calling to become a leader.

 

Integration of knowledge, experience and skills and the application of these three in a given time and space.

 

Development of one’s career as a possibility of reaching a professional peak.

 

Political, economic and other “powers”, which one ought not to let oneself get attached to since once that that happens, this apparent “power” loses its meaning.

 

Specific emotions such as fear, anger, rage, desire, can serve as an initial moving force only, as they lack the reach necessary for them to remain a permanent motivating force, due to its limited range (by the virtue of the fact that they are of the mind and as such cannot transcend the mind) and their very nature, which is illusory, being contrary to one’s true essence.

 

 

As the 21st century got under way, another interesting trend in motivation started to emerge quite strongly – ranking oneself alongside those who make up the so-called critical mass of self-realised (enlightened) leaders, or at least those who are close to deserving such an epithet and whose being and actions thus resonantly mobilise humanity as a whole. Their very awareness is their “motivation”. What fulfils them is the awareness of their own existence and so of their direct actions in respect to others and their surroundings.

 

 

1.3. PATH OF AWARENESS

 

The only way to solve the mystery of humankind, or rather to answer the questions such as: What is a human being? Who are human beings? Where do we come from? etc, is self-realisation or self-accomplishment through self-searching and dedication/devotion.

Seeking the essence or the Absolute (Reality, Universe, Self, “I-ness”, God), is the greatest of all ventures, one full of perils, twists, turns and surprises. With it we not only change ourselves, and so our destiny – but also the world we live in.

It is indeed incomprehensible to the mind that we do actually live in a world that is illusory, that we are in fact one, which is the Absolute (i.e. the Reality, Universe, Self, “I-ness”, God). The process we call life unfolds within a given (defined) time and space, and yet most people do not understand in what way are time and space inseparable from the mind. Elements of the mind (the senses, perception, memory, emotions, thoughts, concepts) create a world we ultimately experience as real. The mind initially emits (projects) vibrations, and then it equally receives them through the senses when they get processed and summarised into images and scenes and so shape our world.

All that we see and experience (as well as that which we can’t see, including the co called “invisible cosmos”) are but projections and reflections of our mind.

Indentifying themselves with the mind, physical body and other manifestations of consciousness from a very early age, most people get trapped in a vicious circle, in which the very awareness is experienced as something separate from the Absolute within.

Self-inquiry and dedication demands an awakening (transcending) of the mind, which in turn presumes a detachment from:

-        the physical body. A view that they are not just a physical body is one that a great majority grasps and accepts reasonably easily (nonetheless, a body is an indispensible condition for the manifestation of consciousness);

-        the mind, being the one most people find hard to let go of due to an erroneous assumption that mind ought to be somehow eliminated, rather than transformed in order to render it serene and fully consciously engaged;

-        individual awareness/consciousness – the last bastion of self-identification and uniqueness. Most people tend get stuck on the misguided belief that if they were to truly “detach” from their awareness of themselves as individuals, they would totally lose their identity. In fact it is the case of becoming one complete being, and realising that we are all One.

All these identifications (with the physical body, the mind and the consciousness/awareness), and the resulting strong attachment to them accompanied by the sense of separateness not only form the Absolute, but from other people as well, give rise to various fears – the fear of death, the fear of illness or the fear of not realising oneself. However, an earnest resolve to reach the actual Truth about oneself will weaken and transform even the ultimate fear.

During the process of self-enquiry, many are not only able to perceive certain progress in their spirituality, but also an increase in their desire to improve the so called daily life, health, material status, social position and so on, all of which – be they intentional or unintentional, are nevertheless secondary to the process of seeking the Truth about oneself.

Even if there were something in the true act of self-inquiry that we could, however inaccurately, refer to as an “ambition” or a “goal” (“purpose”), it then should have one level and one level only – elimination of obstacles to one’s spontaneous self-expression as one’s natural state.

Path of awareness reaches its full maturity in the knowledge of oneself and one’s existence in the present moment (“here and now”). Going off this road leads one into a labyrinth of endless and pointless questions, it divides the mind (diminishes one’s experience of reality) and takes one further away from one’s true essence. Such a person’s insight begins more and more to resemble “a vision blurred by the mist of power”, but in reality – manipulated by the mind.

 

The path of awareness has a long line of elements, from which we shall only point out a few:

-        Man/woman;

-        Self-inquiry;

-        Practice;

-        Freedom from concepts;

-        Wholeness (Oneness).

 

1.3.1. Humankind

­

- Each and every one of us, making up the humankind and as such the ultimate (highest) spontaneous process of the Absolute and therefore the manifested world (i.e. the Universe), are given all we need to find that which was never lost in the first place.

- Human beings have all the necessary instruments, starting from the physical body, through the mind and finally our consciousness/awareness, which can be utilised during the process of self-realisation or self-enquiry.

- Thanks to the our perception of the mind as the starting point of our existence, all other processes that are born and die within us become realised, to the very last, take place within us, and so – with the birth and the death of the mind, this whole world is born and it dies. It’s similar to a state of deep sleep: there everything disappears (we have no experience of the world and its existence), and as we begin to awake the mind starts to become active, instantly engaging with its own projections – and we start anew to perceive the world that it creates.

- The knowledge “I am” or “I exist” is an experience of the mind and as such it gives birth to all mental, emotional, spiritual, energetic and so on processes rooted in space and time.

- Everything happens spontaneously (which does not mean chaotically!), and nothing can ultimately be chosen, since if that was the case, many would not have chosen the body that they have, or the environment nor the circumstances in which they live, or else wouldn’t be doing the jobs they are not satisfied with – the list goes on. An illusion that we are able to choose our own paths is simply – a product of the mind, based on its dualistic concept of freedom. The one that’s doing the choosing is the partial mind, while the whole mind simply exists.

 

1.3.2. Self-search

- All activities are part of total manifestation. Whatever you seek, if you start the search off with a concept that you are an individual separate from others, you will get lost in the mind’s myriad of nooks and crannies.

- If the search is done without love (devoid of realisation of the Absolute within oneself and others), one will never have an insight of any real value. Having said that, one’s personal experience is of paramount importance, although eventually one must become free even of this experience and live in Truth.

- The basic practical advice (which we shall expand on later) is neither seek to escape to the past nor fix all one’s attention on the future. It is essential to remain in the “here and now”, otherwise one again gets lost in the labyrinth of duality – our past experiences carry the concepts good and bad and it is from the past that they are projected into the future, thus placing veil upon a veil over one’s experience of the only real time space there is – the here-now.

- Developing one’s consciousness is a limited goal. Without its maturing or rather – its completion, development is merely within the confines of the ego (duality of “I – others”)

 

1.3.3. Practice

- Development of consciousness is a practice (mental, emotional and spiritual) – a dedication observed 24 hours a day. Even when the mind becomes whole, the practice carries on.

- Practice reveals both our weaknesses and our strengths. By the virtue of a continual earnest practice the weaknesses are gradually but definitely left behind.

When we address “That which is greater than ourselves, which is our very spring and origin” (the Absolute, Reality, Self, “I-ness”, God) with a prayer or even only with a thought – we direct our minds towards our very essence. Such communication with one’s Self sets in motion the processes “beyond the mind” (i.e. beyond the dualistic mind), which are otherwise impossible to mobilise by perseverance (will power) alone [2] .

- Various codes of conduct, observations, thinking, analysis and meditation methods are in themselves limitations, but are at the same time necessary as long as one’s mind is “insufficiently disciplined”. With its awakening (i.e. becoming whole) the emotions and thoughts as well as actions become spontaneous and synchronised with the whole mind, which is the carrier of the original vibration and all-round wisdom.

- If we pray for something, or even if we only think in the direction of a particular wish or desire, our attachment to it and dependence on it will also increase. That is why it is better to self-search, to remain persevering and to wait without expectations.

 

1.3.4. Freedom from concepts

- When you’re learning, studying or researching something – all you are doing is trying to remember a concept that you already carry in you. Therefore, the final goal is – awareness without concepts or conscious conceptuality, rather than conceptual consciousness.

- It is important not to idealise the principles of logical thinking; instead, one should direct one’s efforts and energies towards a constant development of EQ and SQ, because if the IQ is more influentially prevalent than the other two, a path to loneliness, worry, aggression and depression opens.

- Often the process of self-searching is linked with a need to collect (possess) knowledge, although that knowledge is always limited and subject to time and space in which a given individual happens to be manifesting. That is why one should not attach to it, but rather ought to seek the knowledge about one’s own essence.

- As long as attachment’s to concepts about the physical body, mind, or individuality exist, i.e. as long as there is any form whatsoever of attachment to one’s own identity (“I am this or that”), there will also exist a core of fear and suffering, which naturally blocks the development of consciousness/awareness.

- There must be courage if one is to truly lose one’s individuality (meaning simply that we are no longer attached to it, not that it is actually no longer there) and its extreme form – egoism, in order for us to emerge in a state of spontaneous manifestation of compassion as a natural expression of (clear) consciousness/awareness.

 

1.3.5. Wholeness

- Another important facet is not to aim at being perfect. Just being what we are – not perfection, but wholeness (completeness). Perfection as such does not exist in time and space, as these are only manifestations, but it does exist in the Absolute, in Reality. However there – there is no such thing as individual!

- Experience of wholeness, or rather awareness of unity of mind – total awareness, is the most significant experience. That is experience of full, total identity.

- Experience of wholeness leads to freedom from:

·       fears, which arise from one’s identification with the physical body and mind, and from one’s attachment to them. Fears are therefore rooted in one’s experience of being an individual separate from others and from the Absolute, i.e. the Reality;

·       desires, at root of which is a prior experience of pleasant and unpleasant, stored in one’s memory. From it arises the wish for repeating the good and avoiding the bad – both cases lead to attachment and act as a block for the possibility of realisation in the present moment;

·       excessive thinking, i.e. an uncontrolled influx of emotions and thoughts (being preoccupied with problems that keep coming back in the form of thoughts which are in turn followed by emotional reactions).

-  Thinking devoid of the sufficient level of self-awareness leads to one’s obedience to one’s ego and various destructive concepts, hence the condition of wholeness is the dissolution of the ego (i.e. its transcendence).

- Both mental and emotional awareness are based on duality, while the spiritual one is based on wholeness. Spiritual awareness is characterised by:

·       serene mind, in which emotions and thoughts are harmonised at the level of wholeness, and

·       spontaneity, based on non-duality and creative empathy.

 

 

1.4. METHOD

 

There need to be two aspects to methodical approach: general and specific.

 

1.4.1. General approach:

-          Knowledge of awareness, containing:

·        the general factor (i.e. the source) of all-pervasive manifestation;

·         the process through which all comes in and out of being;

·         a possibility of overall experience.

-          A realisation that awareness alone holds the answers to all questions and that that is where they must be sought.

-          A holistic approach towards oneself and others, in a way that assumes connecting mental, emotional and spiritual aspects (for example, if one rushes and draws rational conclusions too quickly and consequently acts on these, one runs a risk of not realising one’s the capacity of creative empathy and entirely missing the spiritual essence).

-          Discovering and recognising the will to be honest and open with oneself, i.e. one’s readiness to face oneself while not taking heed of any assumptions or preconceived ideas (regarding what can be found, realised or what can happen, which by its very definition stands in opposition to the notion of self-search). What is needed is total confidence in the very essence of one’s being, which never makes mistakes nor does it lead astray.

-          Readiness to learn through whatever different forms of acquiring knowledge may present themselves, be it formal education, specialised and general group or individual work.

-          Connecting conceptual and analytical thinking in relation to individuals and groups, meaning the various general approaches and their application in concrete situations.

-          An optimum level of theory and plenty of opportunities for practical application of the knowledge gained. It should be always borne in mind that each life situation is an opportunity for communication with oneself and others.

-          Readiness to work on one’s personality (persona) and one’s behaviour through acknowledging one’s limitations and weaknesses.

-          Continued presence, or rather practicing self-awareness, spontaneity, holism as well as always adopting a point of view, in each and every situation.

-          A special accent on the development of EQ and SQ, which automatically assumes the necessary all-roundedness and, as is well known, it most pays off at the top – the greater the role of a leader in the hierarchy, the influence of technical-technological knowledge is smaller. On the other hand, the influence of emotional and spiritual competences continues to grow.

-          Channelling the energy, where one should keep in mind following:

·         with most leaders (and other people in general) it is water, food, recreation, rest and so on that represent the usual sources of energy, and only under the condition that they are correctly used (i.e. according to the advice and instructions of experts). An often used method of “pushing oneself beyond one’s limits” (the maximum of own potential, “and then some”), can and often does rebound like a boomerang resulting in exhaustion and loss of motivation;

·         channelling the mind through various systems such as yoga, qi-gong, tai chi, prayer, meditation, etc., presents a far more significant source of energy.

Certainly the most optimal approach is exactly the combination of the two (utilising the conventional sources of energy alongside those reached through the channelling of the mind).

-        Encouraging others to find their own answers, rather than relying on those provided by someone other than oneself, and to fundamentally seek to establish connections with those whose skills are complementary to one’s own.

 

1.4.2. The plan of action

The plan of action should include:

 

Diagnosis:

-          needs analysis – evaluation of the post (position) a leader is expected to take on, as well as the job he/she is supposed to perform;

-          assessing of one’s own competences as a leader (general and specific) which one already possesses and those that are still wanting;

-          selecting the appropriate range of competencies in order that one can focus only on the necessary in one’s studies and training.

 

Motivation:

-          determining goals and tasks, evaluating the possible usefulness to the organisation or institution and evaluating the leader;

-          evaluating the will factor (one’s level of readiness to be trained)

-          one’s future involvement as the leader (recognising oneself in the future position, one’s role in it and the future leader’s recognition of the goals, ways to reach them and the appropriate training methods);

-          future leader’s assessment of his/her own readiness to purposefully engage and appropriately judge his/her own “wilful moment” (i.e. the experience of one’s own motives which carry one’s driving force; the evaluation and channelling of acceptable and unacceptable impulses; one’s ability to choose between the alternatives relating to the personal notion and experience of free will, and that of realisation).

 

Selection of approach:

-          we have already mentioned that leadership is something that one can learn (which does not mean that anyone can become a leader, but many can!);

-          it is necessary to define the knowledge, experience and skills accumulated thus far (educational qualifications, professional training courses, knowledge of other languages, general and specific competences);

-          it is also important to form a plan for one’s further training and development by combining the permanent, longer term training (which has a relatively lasting effect) with a shorter but more frequent training sessions designed either to revise and sharpen the existing knowledge and skills pool or to learn a specific new skill.

 

Individual approach:

-          must be emphasised, since each leader must remain authentic;

-          ought to be based on the selective education and training (for specific professional areas and situations);

-          needs to include a one-to-one individual training and a selection of one or more trainers;

-          also involves a selection of mentor, who is there to monitor an overall development of the leader.

 

Direction and control:

-            to realise clear goals and steps to be covered, but also to be ready to correct these during one’s training in accord with own progress;

-            it is important to make a clear identification of the needs and requirements of the future post of a leader as well as of his/her specific competence for the post;

-            to foresee possible difficulties and what their potential use might be (the positive aspect of difficulties), so that they can be utilised in gathering additional valuable knowledge, skills and experiences.

 

Support:

It is important to

-            create an atmosphere in which the whole organisation, including the trainee’s mentor, care for and are concerned with the future leader’s progress;

-            give direct support (starting with the mentor and all the way through all others who are responsible for the leader, presenting rewards, exalting his/her exemplary conduct, future benefits);

-            encourage the future leader to come up with new ideas and suggestions for changes as well as to insist that the he/she independently creates a plan and programme for a part of, or even for all of his/her training, and to ensure there is an atmosphere where the future leader feels comfortable and confident to offer these suggestions freely.

 

Appraisals:

-            it is necessary to give grades and other forms of appraisal during schooling or training and at certain intervals, as well as at the end of the process;

-            appraisals ought to be carried out in relation to the trainee’s contributions towards reaching the goals and accomplishing the tasks;

-            ought to include mentor’s or trainer’s own orientational assessment;

-            need to be formed and applied using the psychometric, sociometric and other methods.

 

1.5. PATH TOWARDS CHANGE

 

Path towards change includes:

- assessing the readiness for change,

- awakening the processes of change,

- cultivating relationships and

- changing oneself.

 

1.5.1. Assessing the readiness

The main mobilising motives are:

- the experience “I exist”, “I am what I am”;

- the sense of “I can”, which is a combination of the sense of calling and the ability to change.

 

Other mobilising factors:

- recognising a clear goal;

- the need for learning and self-development;

- taking on challenges in order to test one’s potential;

- “life crisis” (to make something of oneself, to do something with life);

- problems in an organisation or an institution as a form of a challenge.

 

Awakening the will for change:

- by recognising answers to questions: Who am I? What is the purpose of my existence in a given time and place, i.e. an organisation?

- by creating a sense of purpose in what one thinks about and what one does;

- by evaluating the possibility for the realisation of the process of learning and awakening for all – oneself and others;

- by accepting and recognising that there must be no external sense obligation – the will must come from within, or else it will perish.

 

Assessing the readiness to open the path of change:

- by thinking about the changes in the coming period (the near and far future);

- by acknowledging the level of readiness to work on oneself;

- by acknowledging the level of readiness to put in the effort in order to carry out the necessary hard work on one’s surroundings;

- by acknowledging the level of readiness for concrete action;

- by acknowledging the level of readiness to face risk;

- by acknowledging the level of readiness to ask for help.

 

Recognising concrete (life) skills:

- flexibility and adaptability;

- reaction time and learning speed;

- ability to innovate;

- integration of others’ activities;

- holistic attitude.

 

Evaluating one’s own role:

- What is it that I can do? ;

- dynamics of inclusion (where, when and in what way to get included?);

- evaluating the dynamics of how best to include others;

- establishing the effective resonance in order to mobilise others effectively;

- evaluating how to draw out the best in each group member.

 

Evaluating the process:

- defining the purpose of change;

- facing the facts, so that all the acceptable goals are synchronised with a possibility of their realisation;

- envisioning and making short, medium and particularly long term plans;

- evaluating which concrete actions to take.

 

Selection of the way:

- balancing vision and goals;

- developing a strategy for accepting vision and goals;

- appropriate adaptation of knowledge, skills and behaviour;

- pragmatism – selecting the most useful path;

 

The plan for development should include:

- analysis on the basis of having an overview and a direct experience of an attained level of development of one’s consciousness (problems and obstacles for development);

- an overview of other members’ experiences;

- an approach, so that one connects the theory and experience, the new ideas and so establish the directions for further work;

- concretisation: humane approach and synthesis of many different approaches;

- concrete work: on oneself and one’s surroundings.

 

1.5.2. Awakening the processes

Leadership is an art of channelling and surrendering:

- rationality is necessary, but not sufficient for a lasting change, which is why it needs to be connected with intuitiveness and the ability to improvise;

- it is necessary to learn how to simultaneously be an observer and a participator;

- shaping an influence (power) which is brought about by the leader’s very existence (awareness of how one affects one’s surroundings) and position;

- controlling an “appetite” for power, money, goods, because once such an excess exists, it creates attachment and blockage, threatening to burn one out in the process;

- channelling the career.

 

Awakening the choice of basic action:

- defining a system or systems that must be acted upon (be it an institution, an organisation, one’s surroundings, etc.);

- choosing a specific approach and a mode of action and mapping out the structure and the dynamics of influence;

- creating a base of quality people (advisors, collaborators) as well as the data base;

- creating the basis for a future support network (people are more important than strategies);

- turning visions and ideas into concrete action plans;

 

Awakening the approach consists of:

- opening all options;

- comparing various approaches used for analysing the options, foreseeing possible traps;

- promoting oneself as an innovative leader (a visible change in oneself and a new approach);

- supporting all systems that stimulate development of EQ and SQ;

- honouring and respecting values of the group one is expected to assert influence on, and linking the changes in oneself with those in the group.

 

Process of changes:

- aim of the changes: wellbeing (material, mental, emotional and spiritual), which is measured primarily by the state of affirmative thoughts and emotions, and by the freedom attained;

- intention contains: a) information about the problem, b) emotional reaction, c) a thought about the problem, d) inspiration (inner drive);

- the purpose of approach: changing reactions through changing one’s thoughts, emotions, behaviour and relationship with others;

- overview: making a strong resolve that something is going to change;

- preparation: aiming at finding a solution;

- action: beginning of changes.

 

Maintaining the balance:

- always having one’s mission in mind;

- developing a personal support system (that of diet, physical activity, meditation);

- if weaknesses can’t be overcome, seeking ways to compensate for them;

- continual learning and other forms of work on oneself;

- seeking out the ways to avoid and sanitise stressful situations (correcting psychological and emotional damage);

- teambuilding and organising collective activities;

- caring for one’s (and others’) health.

 

Creating conflicts:

- conflicts often represent a necessary factor in initiating change, and almost always are part of it;

- finding a reliable protection while the conflict(s) last;

- controlling and channelling conflicts so that they can grow into change.

 

Dangers present the folowing:

- selective perception and selective approach;

- over-generalisation or over-analysing;

- over-reliance on intuition;

- drawing hasty conclusions;

- hard-line attitudes;

- disturbing the natural balance between learned self-control and the urge to innovate;

- ill-conceived transferring of oneself (and others) from one position to another.

 

1.5.3. Cultivation of relationships

a) Starting point

- the knowledge of how to conduct relationships refers to knowing how to channel one’s own and others’ emotions and thoughts, including the processes of self-realisation;

- convincing associates that one’s (the leader’s) faith in the mission is greater than their own;

- expressing one’s vision clearly and without doubts;

- the leader’s awareness of him/herself as the initiator of change;

- the leader’s awareness of time and space, i.e. of the need to synchronise relationships with one’s family, organisation and surroundings;

- the leader’s awareness of the role of empathy;

- remaining equally focussed on individual and common interests, rather than one’s position.

 

b) Concretisation:

- focusing on immediate steps;

- mobilising the options for attaining common goals;

- putting an end to reemergence of old approaches and steps;

- establishing mutual trust, mentoring others and providing them with a constant feedback by reflecting their actions and leading by example;

- rather than demanding, clearly stating what must be done;

- respecting each and every individual and looking after rather than criticising and punishing associates and co-workers;

- allowing oneself to take risks and also stimulating others to do so;

- not limiting the development and progress of one’s associates/co-workers, but rather remaining in silence and observing;

- recognising successes, as in oneself so in others, even if they be minimal – since courage and confidence are built in small steps;

- avoiding superficially categorising one’s associates/co-workers or commenting on their behaviour, as this could be interpreted not only as disrespecting others as they are, but doing it to oneself also;

- dealing with and channelling conflicts.

 

1.5.4. Changing oneself:

we have a right to only change ourselves;

keeping in mind that the changes that are happening within us are being simultaneously reflected onto everything and everyone in one’s surroundings;

the spiritual aspect of changing oneself unfolds through the process of self-enquiry, which clears away and eliminates various destructive concepts and attachments, leading one directly to the Truth about the self, thus revealing the deeper purpose of life;

the spiritual aspects of the changes are meant to awaken to the fact that leadership is only an instrument of self-realisation;

alongside the spiritual are also the mental and emotional changes that are taking place, which are also influencing others (this normally manifests in reduced stress levels, the channelling of fear, worry, dissatisfaction and other such destructive emotions and thoughts, whose presence reduces one’s mental, emotional and other competences);

neglecting the changes can lead to:

·       spiritual dullness, loss of orientation in life;

·       emotional blindness (loss and absence of emotions, absence of empathy);

·       ­­­­­­­­­­alexithymia (a confused awareness of one’s own feelings)

 

 

*  *  *

 

During person’s whole life there are changes taking place. The periodically touched on depths of spiritual and emotional maturity and freedom are in themselves insufficient as they fall short of constituting the essence of one’s nature, the complete knowledge of oneself and spontaneous manifestation of emotions and thoughts.

A precondition for all types of leadership is a constant development of consciousness/awareness through continual work on oneself. However, the starting precept is the recognition of leadership as an instrument of self-realisation and of creative empathy as a basic mode of relating with oneself and others.

The development of leader’s self-awareness expands resonantly, changing also those who choose to follow him/her.

 

CONCLUSION

 

Concepts such as “leadership” and “leader” are meaningful only if they can be connected to the processes they reflect, the subjects they involve and the way in which they unfold. Multi-facetted observation, such as: sociological, psychological, humanistic, multi-dimensional, formal, practical, energetic including the aspect of skilfulness, gives leadership and a leader a tone of authenticity through a specific nature and style of action.

 

The role of a leader is the leader’s mission and that is to awaken others through one’s own existence. In the business world, being a leader is not just a job, although it is realised through it. The leader is “above that” – he/she creates the job. The basic form of action for a leader is resonance through stimulating the awareness – the resonant development of awareness.

 

The key task of a leader is realising oneself as a Being (Who am I?) and acknowledging advantages and limitations in oneself and others. All-round (i.e. rational, emotional and spiritual) self-realisation has as its goal a manifestation of self-awareness as wisdom – a practical knowledge that serves to help and further all.

 

During the process of self-realisation and through gradual discovery of one’s identity, or in other words through the occurrence of self-awareness, conditions are met for the development of a synchronised set of actions or skills. Skills contain values, expertise and behaviour. We have split, only conditionally, the skills of a leader into four groups:

self-realisation skills, which refer to the act of discovering the Truth of oneself as a personal, individual and spiritual being (self-awareness, motivation, contemplating over the purpose);

personal skills, describing behaviour which arose from one’s relationship with oneself, or rather through one’s experience of oneself (initiative, spontaneity, autonomy of feeling, thought and action);

social skills, which speak of one’s relationship with one’s environment (communication factor, teamwork, visionary aspect);

skills of approach, which include bringing the previous three groups into a method of action (compassion, honesty, trust, confidence).

 

It’s important to stress that for a leader (or someone wishing to become one) it is not only necessary to have at his/her command many skills, but on top of that there ought to be a critical skills-mass with which it is possible the cross the threshold and reach the top.

The hereto approach to leadership/leaders which is largely based on individuality, planning, rationality and so on, needs to be transcended into integrated leadership and integrated leader which on the other hand are characterised by self-awareness, holistic approach, visionariness, self-organisation, “the game of life” (competing with oneself), adaptability, openness, flexibility, creative empathy and resonance.

 

An integrated leader needs to have an integrated approach, one based on the following two ideas:

-       leaders are made, not born, even though certain genetic potential does play a part. For example, the traits expressed through IQ are determined primarily by the genes, while those expressed by EQ and SQ are formed in life and remain there for a long time;

-       connecting different aspects: physical (care of health), mental (focused thinking), emotional (harmony) and spiritual (a view of the Truth about oneself and one’s surroundings).

 

Being motivated by the idea of self-realisation and the sense of connectedness, the leader directs his/her primary potential (i.e. reason, ability to exchange vibrations, spontaneity, an urge for self-realisation and an ability to believe) towards realising oneself and others.

 

Development of consciousness/awareness is a continual practice (mental, emotional and spiritual) and a devotion that lasts 24/7. It is about non-attachment to concepts, in order that the conceptual awareness can eventually give place to a concept-free awareness (conscious conceptuality), which leads to an experience of identity that is complete, complete through self-realisation.

 

When viewed on its own, the path of awareness has the following elements: 1. forgiveness and compassion, 2. discontinuation of thoughts, 3. silence, 4. emptiness, 5. letting go, and 6. surrender.

Likewise, when viewed on its own, the meditation comprises of: 1. relaxation, 2. concentration, 3. visualisation, 4. activation, 5. gathering of attention, 6. flow-state (letting go and surrender) and 7. conscious relaxation.

 

The essence of meditation lies in recognising and channelling our mind’s potential, and since here the conceptual knowledge alone is insufficient, the experiential knowledge (derived from one’s own personal experience) must exist, even though often it cannot be described.

 

The basic effects of meditation include:

-   bliss – knowledge that all is love;

-   clear-sightedness – of the overall connectedness and harmony on the level of the whole;

-   non-conceptuality – openness to all that may happen.

Our method of working with leaders (or potential leaders) includes:

- a general part: anti-stress programme, genetic code/karma restructuring and self-inquiry;

- specific part: general and individual development of skills and a concrete problem/situation resolution.

 

The book offers our experiences in working with leaders, which irrefutably demonstrate the link between meditation and a reduction in stress, as well as that between the development of skills and an increase in the level of contentment. The research to date is doubtless only a small part in an overall search for the full scope of this approach. Nevertheless, its findings represent an attempt to open up and set in motion also the other possible approaches to leadership and leaders.

 

Numerous other subjects, such as:

-   maturing of leaders: from the initial efficiency to the “top leader” and a sage,

-   levels of leadership: from small groups to strategic leadership,

-   the research which would include time-based development of leader-awareness, ...

 

...we leave for another time.



[1] See: “Timeless Existence”, Zoran i Milica Gruičić, published by yuTOPag, Novi Sad, 2007, pg. 75–93.

[2] In Christianity, addressing one’s essence in such a form is called a self-active merciful prayer, during which “...the mind and the consciousness unite with the seeing (insight).”

Taken from the Hilandar Monastery’s publication from 1997, of “Obitavanje Bezgranicnog u srcu” (“Residing of the Infinite in the heart” – no translations are currently available), pg 23.

 

   
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