Archives For Self Awareness

Do nothing to make you lose respect for yourself, or to cheapen yourself in your own eyes. Let your own integrity be the standard of rectitude, and let your own dictates be stricter than the precepts of any law. Forego the unseemly, more because of outer authority. Learn this fear of yourself, and there will then be no need for that imaginary monitor of Seneca.

~ Baltasar Gracian, The Art of Worldly Wisdom

YOU may easily know whether you are a child of Truth or a worshiper of self, if you will silently examine your mind, heart, and conduct. Do you harbor thoughts of suspicion, enmity, envy, lust, pride; or do you strenuously fight against these? If the former, you are chained to self, no matter what religion you may profess; if the latter, you are a candidate for Truth, even though outwardly you may profess no religion. Are you passionate, self-willed, ever seeking to gain your own ends, self-indulgent, and self-centered; or are you gentle, mild, unselfish, quit of every form of self-indulgence, and are ever ready to give up your own? If the former, self is your master; if the latter, Truth is the object of your affection.

The signs by which the Truth-lover is known are unmistakable.

~ James Allen, Daily Meditations

We each begin life as an infant, totally dependent on others. We are directed, nurtured, and sustained by others. Without this nurturing, we would only live for a few hours or a few days at the most.

Then gradually, over the ensuing months and years, we become more and more independent—physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially—until eventually we can essentially take care of ourselves, becoming inner-directed and self-reliant.

As we continue to grow and mature, we become increasingly aware that all of nature is interdependent, that there is an ecological system that governs nature, including society. We further discover that the higher reaches of our nature have to do with our relationships with others—that human life also is interdependent.

Our growth from infancy to adulthood is in accordance with natural law. And there are many dimensions to growth. Reaching our full physical maturity, for example, does not necessarily assure us of simultaneous emotional or mental maturity. On the other hand, a person’s physical dependence does not mean that he or she is mentally or emotionally immature.

On the maturity continuum, dependence is the paradigm of you—you take care of me; you come through for me; you didn’t come through; I blame you for the results.

Independence is the paradigm of I—I can do it; I am responsible; I am self-reliant; I can choose.

Interdependence is the paradigm of we—we can do it; we can cooperate; we can combine our talents and abilities and create something greater together.

Dependent people need others to get what they want. Independent people can get what they want through their own effort. Interdependent people combine their own efforts of others to achieve their greatest success.

~ Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

 

Be shrewd, but not too shrewd. Your reflectiveness is not something to be affected, much less detected by others. All artfulness must be concealed, for it is suspect, especially that of foresightedness, which is hated. Deceit fills the world, so be doubly suspicious without letting it be seen, for that would destroy trust in you. Suspicion vexes the spirit and cries for revenge, awakening evils of which no one dreamed. To have considered well how to proceed is of great advantage for the day’s work; there is no better evidence of a person’s good sense. The perfection of an undertaking lies in the masterly sureness with which it was executed.

~ Baltasar Gracian, The Art of Worldly Wisdom (1647)

Leadership Theories

January 2, 2018 — Leave a comment

Leadership has been around since the beginning of the human species. In the bible it’s Adam and Eve, but we ask ourselves, who was the real leader in the Garden of Eden? Adam for following the guidelines, or Eve for taking the risk at a possible better future, even after severe warnings from the top leader. Whenever two or more people get together, eventually someone emerges as the leader, but why? I believe that leadership does start from within, we all have a motive for wanting to lead others. But we need to lead ourselves first, in order to lead others better.

The basic leadership process, as defined in The Leadership Experience by Richard L. Draft, is “an influence relationship among leaders and followers who intend real changes and outcomes that reflect their shared purposes.” If we dig into that statement deeper, we can understand why on average, only about 30 percent of workers are engaged at work. The leader doesn’t take the energy required to develop relationships in order to find a shared purpose with their employees, so they use more authoritarian styles of leadership. Did you ever have someone tell you that you had to do something because “they signed your paycheck,” and for some that may be enough.

The understanding of different types of leadership has expanded drastically in just the past century. Before the preindustrial and pre-bureaucratic era was the Great Man Theory. Only men were viewed as great leaders, they held the positions of power so they were viewed as the leaders. Of course there are always those outliers, we can all think of great woman leaders in history, but most where born into those leadership roles.

During the 1920’s, Leadership Trait Theory research started to look at what traits leaders consistently have that separates them from non-leaders and contributed the most to their success?  Leadership traits could be identified, but the researchers wanted to be able to predict leaders, or train individuals in those specific traits. The research couldn’t consistently identify specific traits between successful leaders, so ultimately the research failed. Traits alone do not make a great leader.

In the 1950’s researchers started to look at what leaders did, not who they are. Leadership Behavior Theory looked at the behavior of effective leaders to ineffective leaders, and how they behaved toward followers. The research showed that behaviors could be learned and practiced, even if it was unnatural for them, but with any type of behavior changes, we can always resort back to the more unproductive behavior or habit.

A personal insight for me, since I’ve been training leaders for over twenty years I see how some leaders adopt the appropriate leadership behaviors, but eventually resort back to more unproductive behaviors. Often I’ve wondered what I did wrong, why didn’t the training stick? I was even called into a Directors office once and asked what I’ve been teaching in the leadership classes because someone who went through a number of classes in the past, was struggling again as a leader. My answer was that when a leader adopts positive leadership behaviors they may resort back to their more natural leadership style, unless the positive behavior is consistently reinforced.

Leadership Contingency Theory looked at how leadership behaviors successfully impacted different situations, which is why it’s also called situational theory developed by Hersey and Blanchard (The Situational Leader). This theory emphasizes that leadership doesn’t happen in a vacuum, different situations in different organizations with different people may take different leadership behaviors to reach a successful outcome.

Researchers didn’t start looking at Leadership Influence Theory until the early 1970’s, and continued to be the main focus until the early 1990’s. This was a period of economic globalization, when economic powerhouses started changing from large corporations to individual internet start-ups. The study of charismatic leadership showed that someone didn’t need a leadership position to influence others. Charismatic leaders influence people to change by effectively communicating an inspiring vision. Individuals started to look for more reason to work then a paycheck, what was their passion? The charismatic leader can cast the vision to get followers buy-in. The ability to lead others wasn’t dependent on someone’s position, but how you influence people. The team leadership concept emerged during this period and the individual with the most knowledge or influence in a specific area would take the lead.

“Leadership Is Influence, Nothing More, Nothing Less.”
~ John C. Mawell

Leadership Relational Theories started emerging in the late 1970’s, and focused on how leaders and followers interact and influence each other? Leadership is viewed as a relational process that engages all participants and enables them to help achieve the vision. Interpersonal relationships are seen as being the most important facet of leadership effectiveness. Two common leadership styles that emerged from relational theory is Servant Leadership and Transformational Leadership, both focus on building positive relationships to better influence others.

With the recent focus on relational leadership, the research turns toward the traits and behaviors of those individuals who build better relationships, and it’s generally woman, who some scholars claim to be better leaders. The Harvard Business Review article, Are Women Better Leaders than Men?” by Zenger and Folkman reported in a study they conducted on 7,280 leaders which showed that female leaders not only where more effective as leaders, but scored higher on 15 of the 16 leadership competencies.

What will emerge as the next leadership theory? If I was to guess, it would be self-leadership theory.  Currently if you Google “self-aware leadership” you’ll get close to 2,000 results, not many when you think about it, especially compared to “Servant Leadership” at almost 500,000 results. You influence others the way you’ve been influenced by others in the past, it’s a behavior that we develop, and sometimes it’s a negative behavior, and we need to ask ourselves why, what are we trying to protect?

I believe it comes down to satisfying our own ego, some leaders find pleasure when they succeed themselves, no problem with that as long as it’s not at the expense of others. Some find fulfillment in helping others succeed, they’ve already achieved the level of success they want and now their passion comes from helping others achieve their success. That would be called significance, when you’ve helped so many people achieve their own success that they value the relationship, and in turn will help you achieve your goals.  It reminds me of Zig Ziglar quote on how to achieve success, “Help enough people get what they want, and they’ll help you get what you want.”

How do you plan to help others get what they want in 2018?.

 

References

The Leadership Experience by Richard L. Draft,

The Center for Leadership Studies, http://situational.com/the-cls-difference/situational-leadership-what-we-do/

Leadership-Central.com, http://www.leadership-central.com/leadership-theories.html#axzz52qy6nXpn

Are Women Better Leaders than Men? By Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman, Harvard Business Review, March 15, 2012. https://hbr.org/2012/03/a-study-in-leadership-women-do

 

Know your chief asset, your great talent. Cultivate it, and help along the others. Anyone might have attained eminence in something, had he but known his advantage. Discover therefore your best attribute, and exploit it fully. Some excel in judgement, others in courage. Most violate their Minerva, and thus rise to the heights in nothing. For what is too quick in satisfying the passion is too late in pointing out its error.

~ Baltasar Gracian, The Art of Worldly Wisdom (1647)

IS there no way of escape from pain and sorrow? Are there no means by which the bonds of evil may be broken? Is permanent happiness and abiding peace a foolish dream? No, there is a way—and I speak it with gladness—by which evil may be slam forever ; there is a process by which every adverse condition or circumstance can be put on one side forever, never to return ; and there is a practice by which unbroken and unending peace and bliss can be partaken of and realized. And the beginning of the way which leads to this glorious realization is the acquirement of a right understanding of the nature of evil. It is not sufficient to deny or ignore evil; it must be understood.

Men remain in evil because they are not willing or prepared to learn the lesson which it came to teach them.

~ James Allen, Daily Meditations

Know how to pull back, for it is a great rule of life to know how to refuse. It becomes an even greater rule to know how to refuse yourself: either to business or to persons. There are extraneous occupations which are moths of precious time. It is worse to be busy with the trivial than to do nothing. It is not enough for the observant not to obtrude; a greater need is not to be intruded upon by others. Do not belong so wholly to others that you no longer belong to yourself. Neither exploit your friends nor ask of them more than they care to give, for everything carried to excess becomes a vice. Especially in everyday affairs, an intelligent moderation best holds goodwill and respect, for it does not bruise the so precious proprieties. Maintain therefore the freedom of your being, worship the beautiful, and do not give offense to the laws of your own good taste.

~ Baltasar Gracian, The Art of Worldly Wisdom (1647)

The Laws Implied in Higher Thoughts

As you think, so you become. As are your thoughts so must be your life. Improve your thinking. Better thoughts bring better actions. Mere thinking of the objects of this world is pain. Bondage is caused by the very act of thought. Pure thought is a mightier force than electricity.

The mind which is attracted by objects of sense, tends to bondage, while that which is not so attracted tends to emancipation. Mind is a dacoit. Slay this mind-dacoit. You will be happy and free for ever. Manifest all your strength in the task of conquering your mind. This is true manliness or Purushartha.

Self-denial is a means to the purification and refinement of mind. Purify and still the thoughts. The layers of ignorance covering knowledge, will not be removed without a calm mind.

The subtle part of food forms the mind. Mind is manufactured out of food. The subtle part of food is transformed into mind. Food does not mean merely what we eat, but what we gather through all our senses.

Learn to see God everywhere. This is real food for the eye. Purity of thought depends upon purity of food. You can see better, hear better, taste better, think better, when you entertain sublime divine thoughts.

Look at an object through a green or red glass; the object appears green or red. Even so, the objects are coloured by the desires through the mirror-mind. All mental states are transitory; they produce pain and sorrow.

Have freedom of thought. Free yourself from the slavery of prejudice that blunts intellect and dulls thoughts. Think of the immortal Atman. This is the right method of direct, original thinking. The Atman reveals Itself after the purification of thoughts. When the mind is serene without any want, without any motive, without any craving or desire or thought, without any compulsion, without hope, then the supreme Atman shines. There is the experience of Bliss. Live the way in which saints live. This is the only way to victory over thoughts, mind and the lower self and until you have conquered mind, there can be no sure and permanent victory.

~ Sri Swami Sivananda, Thought Power

TELL me what that is upon which you most frequently and intensely think, that to which, in your silent hours, your soul most naturally turns, and I will tell you to what place of pain or peace you are traveling, and whether you are growing into the likeness of the divine or the bestial. There is an unavoidable tendency to become literally the embodiment of that quality upon which one most constantly thinks. Let, therefore, the object of your meditation be above and not below, so that every time that you revert to it in thought you will be lifted up ; let it be pure and unmixed with any selfish element; so shall your heart become purified and drawn nearer to Truth, and not defiled and dragged more hopelessly into error.

Meditation is the secret of all growth in spiritual life and knowledge.

~ James Allen, Daily Meditations