Creating Waves of Awareness
Managers and people in Human Resources (HR) go to leadership trainings where they are encouraged to nourish their inner leader with the intent to influence staff to do their bidding. As with all good intent people, they get very enthusiastic and try to go the distance with their newly acquired tools. Many times the work community is stuck in old behavioral patterns, so this new way of “leading” not commanding doesn´t work. Why not?
Leaders need followers you see. No one will follow someone who they find unworthy in some aspect. Whether it is something they have done in the past that goes against the prospective follower’s values or just plain untrustworthiness, we, as people, are smart. If the person who intends to lead you doesn’t resonate with your core, no matter if at work, community work or at home, you will not follow. Some of us don’t realize at first how deeply imbedded our values are into our cores. Yet we even choose our professions because of some hidden or not so hidden value of life.
Honesty is, according to Eliason BC, the most important value of physicians, with social power coming in last. According to Throop and Castellucci, a large group of technical and business school graduates value competence above all, with self control (commitment) coming in second and ambition coming in third. Honesty came in fifth and responsibility twelfth.
Knowing your values may be important when it comes to choosing your profession, choosing your partner and your way of life.
Do your values resonate with the values of your coworkers and family?
Leadership isn't only bound to your workplace. In different aspects of our lives we assume the role of the leader or the follower. Parents take turns in leading their family in tough times and in joy. When life´s difficulties come knocking on your door, it's comforting to know that if you fall down, someone you love will reach their hand gently toward you and assist you in getting up and help you get back on your path. Sometimes it's the hand of the smallest family member, those chubby little fingers that reach into your heart and warm it up. A smile from your child on a stressed day can slow the world down, put it into perspective and make everything right.
Can leadership tools assist you aspire to your greatest potential?
Situational approach to leadership (Hersey & Blanchard) is one tool used in leadership training. Here, the explanation is that a person's competence and enthusiasm may vary from time to time so he/she may need different kinds of support at any given time. This is very interesting to me because this is so familiar from homeopathy. In my homeopathic studies I was allocated a mentor, someone to guide me through cases and difficult situations. As time went by the mentors grew in numbers and sometimes it was as if they were sent by a higher power. People I did not know, homeopaths, with knowledge to specific situations assisted me and when my competence grew, they went on to other aspiring students.
Situational approach describes four degrees of competence/enthusiasm.
Today, more than ever, trust is a big issue in our communities. From India to Iceland, governments have systematically worked against the trust people had on government and now frantically try to rebuild it. It's not an easy task and I can't predict whether it will work, but I do know one thing.
If you operate from your core values, don't break them even when the going gets tough, you will emerge from every situation as a winner. People you trust and respect will follow you anywhere you go and you will also be more willing to follow others. We as a species recognize the innate good and trustworthiness in others and following our instincts will only help us to aspire to the greatest form of ourselves. We will learn from others and pay forward our knowledge thus creating a better world.
Leadership isn't some fancy word or tool meant to be used only at the workplace. If you think about the people who have influenced you the most in your life, who do you think about? For me, one person comes to my mind as a leader, he led people with peace, with his core values.
Gandhi sought to practice non-violence and truth in all situations, and advocated that others do the same. He practiced his principles in real time and lived his life in complete resonance with his core values. People who remember him may remember him saying „My life is my message“, when he was asked if he had any messages for the people. He lived his life with a set of values he never backed away from. That´s why he had and has so many followers. Non violent protests to the wrongs of life and never giving up.
If your family were to describe you and your values, do you think they would know them? Do you review your values and live by them?