“The task of leadership is to create an alignment of strengths, making our weaknesses irrelevant”. (Peter Drucker)

“Leaders who do not act dialogically, but insist on imposing their decisions, do not organize the people–they manipulate them. They do not liberate, nor are they liberated: they oppress.”
― Paulo FreirePedagogy of the Oppressed

“The radical, committed to human liberation, does not become the prisoner of a ‘circle of certainty’ within which reality is also imprisoned. On the contrary, the more radical the person is, the more fully he or she enters into reality so that, knowing it better, he or she can better transform it. This individual is not afraid to confront, to listen, to see the world unveiled. This person is not afraid to meet the people or to enter into dialogue with them. This person does not consider himself or herself the proprietor of history or of all people, or the liberator of the oppressed; but he or she does commit himself or herself, within history, to fight at their side.”
― Paulo FreirePedagogy of the Oppressed

“An unauthentic word, one which is unable to transform reality, results when dichotomy is imposed upon its constitutive elements. When a word is deprived of its dimension of action, reflection automatically suffers as well; and the word is changed into idle chatter, into verbalism, into an alienated and alienating “blah.” It becomes an empty word, one which cannot denounce the world, for denunciation is impossible without a commitment to transform, and there is no transformation without action.”
― Paulo FreirePedagogy of the Oppressed

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” (John Quincy Adams)

“Really great people make you feel that you, too, can become great.” (Mark Twain)

“To lead people, walk beside them … As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence. The next best, the people honor and praise. The next, the people fear; and the next, the people hate … When the best leader’s work is done the people say, ‘We did it ourselves!'” (Lao-tsu)

The task of leadership is not to put greatness into people, but to elicit it, for the greatness is there already. (John Buchan)

“Leadership is action, not position.” (Donald H. McGannon)

“Leadership is the challenge to be something more than average.” (Jim Rohn)

Leadership is not magnetic personality, that can just as well be a glib tongue. It is not “making friends and influencing people”, that is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to higher sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations. (Peter F. Drucker)

“Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.” (Stephen R. Covey)

“You don’t lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case.”  (Ken Kesey)

Leadership Development: the roots of change

Posted on August 16, 2009

The first step in change, for an individual, an organization, or a community is changing deeply held beliefs about change.

Is it possible to change?

Do I have the ability to change?

Do I have the will to change?

The questions about change have to change;

From “When is change coming?” or “Where can I look to find change?”

To “Change begins with me. How can I make this happen?”

Change requires a paradigm shift from consumer to contributor, from taker to giver, from sitting back and waiting to leaning forward, ready to take action.

Change is not something that happens to me, change is something we do.

No authentic change comes from without.

Change is real only if it comes from within.

Lasting change begins in our hearts. Then we act authentically from our hearts; from our values and beliefs, from our character. Authenticity compels people to sit up and take notice.

“General H. Norman Schwarzkopf defines leadership as ‘a potent combination of strategy and character, but if you have to be without one, be without the strategy’. Character is the critical link between strategy and execution. The character of the leader is what engenders belief, not clever ideas and fancy rhetoric. The character of the brand is what engenders customer loyalty, not clever advertising. People aren’t stupid. They quickly discern what is authentic from what appears to be empty propaganda. People (customers, voters, employees, shareholders) discern character by sensing ‘intention’.”

Brian Bacon: Leadership in Times of Crisis

Change requires leadership throughout an organization or community. “Anytime the actions of a person are moving others forward in life, this is leadership.”

Leadership must come from the front, from the side, from the back, from the bottom, and from the top of organizations or communities.

Leadership and Integrity

“Control is not leadership; management is not leadership; leadership is leadership. If you seek to lead, invest at least 50% of your time in leading yourself—your own purpose, ethics, principles, motivation, conduct. Invest at least 20% leading those with authority over you and 15% leading your peers.” (Dee Hock, Founder and CEO Emeritus, Visa)

“Nothing so conclusively proves a man’s ability to lead others as what he does from day to day to lead himself.”  (Thomas J. Watson, Sr.)

“A leader leads by example, whether he intends to or not.” (John Quincy Adams)

First you must become the change you want to see. Live it authentically, in everything you do. Then there will be no question of how to lead. Simply be, then act. Be yourself. Then do what you know is the right thing to do.

The Path of Leadership from the Heart

“Today, everyday leadership practices focus primarily on what is visible.” What is necessary now “is to develop a deeper level of knowing, a deeper level of awareness. This will enhance both decision-making and creativity.”

“The process of becoming aware, is punctuated by three specific ‘gestures’ or inflection points. Each gesture or inflection point shifts the structure of attention from one level of emergence to another:

“From (1) ‘suspension’—overcoming habitual patterns;

“To (2) ‘redirection’—turning one’s attention from the object to its source; and

“To (3) ‘letting go’—changing one’s quality of attention from looking for something to letting it come.”

A Dialogue on Leadership: Illuminating the Blind Spot (p. 9)

The Art of Leadership from the back and from the front

“Leadership requires more than skills and business acumen, great leadership is an art form that requires qualities that signal a capacity for relational and intuitive processes.

“Presence, compassion, integrity and inquiry are qualities that enhance leadership in today’s fast moving, complex world of organization.

“Presence is the embodied capacity for expansion, the ability to extend energy that carries the context and meaning of the organization and what it stands for in a global perspective.

“Compassion is the authentic awareness that our lives are interconnected and the embodied message – ‘we are all in this together’.

“Integrity is manifested through transparency and provides a basis for credibility and accessibility.

“Inquiry is the ability to tolerate uncertainty as an arena of possibility and innovation.

Wendy Palmer: Somatic Intelligence—the Art of Leadership

The Greatest Challenge of Leadership: Self-Deception

The most challenging part of becoming aware of our actions is to recognize one of personalities favorite strategies, self-deception. For a leader, the capacity to be aware of a survival energy pattern emerging creates transparency and a choice point. She can choose to make a shift in energy. Self-deception shows up as an impulse to control others and the outcome without taking one’s own behavior into account. Remember, the personality references on (defers to) control, approval and safety. Rather than looking inward to become aware of how we are participating in a difficult situation the personality looks out at other people and sees how they need to adjust their behavior. A leader who is willing to acknowledge this and make a shift in her energy pattern brings a combination of humanity and centeredness to the challenges of attending to the immediate details of the moment within a sense of the larger context of past, present and future.

Wendy Palmer: Somatic Intelligence—the Art of Leadership

Authentic Leadership in Action

“Authentic Leadership in Action is a transformational journey of learning, growth, and skill-building that leads to the profound renewal of our organizations and communities.

“What exactly is authentic leadership and where does it come from? Although it may be hard to define, most of us know it when we see it. We recognize it in personal examples, whether it is an historical figure, our minister, our CEO, a neighborhood grandmother, or a politician who is truly inspiring. And we recognize it in our own best moments. When we are authentically present and true to our own internal compass, we are able to bring out the best in others. We are able to communicate without pretense and manipulation because we are not hiding behind ego or driven by fear. We are confident because we trust in the natural intelligence and goodness in ourselves and others. Seeing clearly what is and what could be, we are able to act decisively and effectively.

“In today’s world, authentic leadership is like a breath of fresh air. And it is needed everywhere. We are all being called to rise to this challenge, whatever our position or domain of work.”

ALIA Institute

Leadership Development: the roots of change

Consumer or Contributor: leadership in an age of consumption


Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us

According to research, money is a motivator only if applied to physical work. But when it is used as a motivator to improve performance for work that involves any basic cognitive skills, it does not work. Actually, often, it is a disincentive or demotivator have the opposite affect on performance.

If you want to use money to affect performance, the best that can be done  is pay people enough so that money is no longer an issue. Too little money creates personal stress that often hinders performance.  So that barrier must be removed.

So what does motivate people to do better work??? Research shows that there are three factors that lead to better performance and personal satisfaction. Autonomy. Mastery. Purpose.

Autonomy: our desire to be self directed, to direct our own lives. Often traditional notions of management run afoul of that. Management works great if you want COMPLIANCE. But if you want ENGAGEMENT, self direction is much better.

Mastery: our urge to get better at stuff. Why do we do stuff just to get better at them, and for no other apparent reason? Because it is fun and it is satisfying. That’s all. People do things for challenge, mastery, and making a contribution.

Purpose: when the profit motive becomes unmoored from the purpose motive, bad things happen. Companies that are flourishing are animated by this purpose motive. For example, the founder of Skype says our goal is to be disruptive but in the cause of making the world a better place. Steve Jobs said he wants to make a ding in the universe.

So, in conclusion, if we start treating people like people and not like horses, we have a better chance of building better organizations and making the world a better place.

4 Responses “Leadership” →
  1. Τhanks , I have recently been searching for іnfo
    about this topic foг a long timе annd yours is the greatest
    I’ve discοvered till now. But, what in regards
    to the bottom line? Αгe yoou certain concerning tɦe supply?


    • The concept of leadership that I’m getting at here is not focusing on economic leadership. This is about human leadership in a very broad sense. How do we make a difference? How do we create meaning in life? What is the common good? How can my own “good” align with the “common good”? How can we move out of the systems of control that are destroying us and create a sustainable world?


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