Other Leadership

Innovating Leadership Models

Humbleness

We shall get back in touch with the natural humbleness brought by our human corruptible status.

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Natural Born Leaders

History suggests multiple examples of Natural Born Leaders. These individuals seemed to have had success in whatever life gave them the opportunity to do. They inspired and moved feelings of those around them, while being often unconscious of their role. They were leaders by nature, not by role. They accepted with humbleness their duties and followed their natural talents with faith. They left their pride behind, and found enlightenment ahead.

Here’s for you a pearl of Taoism, 27-century-old, just to close with some ancient wisdom, that really never hurts:

The sage accepts the world
As the world accepts the Way;
He does not display himself, so is clearly seen,
Does not justify himself, so is recognized,
Does not boast, so is credited,
Does not pride himself, so endures,
Does not contend, so none contend against him.

Tao Te Ching, 道德經, Laozi (c. 6th century BC), full text available here.

Do you know any Natural Born Leader, in person or a good example from history? Share the story below as a comment.

Leaders by role and Leaders by nature

One of the aberrations we encounter in modern corporations when talking about leadership is the confusion between leadership roles and those people who truly are Leaders.

A true leader is not appointed but is simply recognized as such. Often the recognition of true leadership comes form the bottom of the organizations while the appointment of leadership roles certainly descends from the top of the pack.

The recognition of a leader is natural and happens by itself. When a leader is speaking the audience is dragged, feelings are moved and you can feel a thin slice of excited optimism laying down on your skin. When a leader by role speaks, the attention he or she will receive depends only on the impact those words can have onto the people listening. A leader by role shows forced and awkward behaviours, suggested by the indoctrinated definition of leadership that is commonly accepted in that organization. This model is often related to toughness and aggressiveness, with the use of saying the last words, listening thoughtlessly and answering with precipitation. Exactly the contrary of what we will see in a true leader.

True leaders can be at any level, and the success of an organization will be higher when meritocracy brings leaders by nature in leadership roles.

And you? How do you think you can recognize leaders by nature?

A leader listens deeply – Lessons from Plutarch

“… In all cases, then, silence is a safe adornment for the young man, and especially so, when in listening to another he does not get fussed or barks out a response every minute, but even if the remarks are distinctly unwelcome, puts up with them, and waits for the speaker to pause, and, when the pause comes, does not at once interpose his objection, but, as Aeschines puts it, allows an interval to elapse, in case the speaker may desire to add something to what he has said, or to alter or unsay anything. But those who instantly interrupt with contradictions, neither hearing nor being heard, but talking while others talk, behave in an unseemly manner; whereas the man who has the habit of listening with restraint and respect, takes in and masters a useful discourse, and more readily sees through and detects a useless or false one, showing himself thus to be a lover of truth and not a lover of disputation, nor froward and contentious. Wherefore it is sometimes said not inaptly that it is even more necessary to take the wind of self-opinion and conceit out of the young, than to deflate wine-skins, if you wish to fill them with something useful; otherwise, being full of bombast and inflation, they have no room to receive it…”

 Moralia, Περὶ τοῦ ἀκούειν – De recta ratione audiendi (on Listening), Plutarch (AD 46-120), full English text available here.

I’ve often met people who tried to show leadership by “proactively anticipating” what the others were trying to say – namely interrupting! A good pupil of Plutarch would probably be seen today as a weak negotiator, unable to decisively make their points.

We should learn, instead, the art of active listening, that would enable truly virtuous discussions, that would build on difference of opinions and ultimately lead to a common and logical decision.

Sometimes I see that the aggressiveness of some destroys the social intelligence of a group and disables the logical thinking. We should listen more than speak, each of us. And if at the end of the meeting only a person has spoken, it means that the meeting was useless, and scheduled only for the sake of following what is blindly accepted to be a best practice. Think about this in your next meeting…