LeadershipThousands of words have been written on this subject. Amusingly enough, usually by people who have not been in leadership positions.
As the twenty-first century inexorably begins, it is interesting to ponder about the type of leaders that will emerge in the next millenium and to speculate on the necessities that will differ from the centuries gone by, and one the demands that the Age of Knowledge will require.
The idea that some people are natural leaders and that we can study them and copy what they do or do not do, seems a natural enough method for wannabe leaders to utilize. We humans are wonderful mimics and many of our learning patterns are deeply rooted in our innate talent for mimicry.
Whether or not the study of leaders has ever helped anyone become one is unclear to me. I have run large organizations and sections of large organizations with some success, yet I would not classify myself as the leadership type. I have, however, learned to be passable in that department. So I am living proof that some things about leadership can be learned.
I am about to embark on an attempt to define the qualities that a leader must have in order to succeed.
Firstly, a leader must inspire people to follow him?POISE. The person must have self-confidence and self-possession.
FOCUS. He must appear to know where he is going and what he is doing.
WILL. He must have the drive and enthusiasm for the accomplishment of the group goals.
COMMUNICATION. He must be able to skillfully communicate with conviction the programs that align to the overall thrust of the organization.
INTEGRITY. He must command respect in his personal behavior and business dealings.
COMPETENCE. He must be able to demonstrate the ability to do things as well as or better than his followers.
These six qualities are essential for any leader. These alone will get one by. They will not guarantee that you become president, but they will insure that you command respect.
There are leaders and then there are Great Leaders. The second category is in an entirely separate class.
What is it that makes a Great Leader like Gandhi, Elizabeth the First, Jesus or even those like Hitler, Stalin or Alexander the Great?
Can we find common denominators for all great leaders, whether they appear politically correct today to us or not?
Whether they lead by the pen or the sword one thing is very clear; all of these people had an unusually large quantity of life energy. They seem larger than life and their accomplishments are well beyond the ordinary. All the leaders mentioned above led vast numbers of people, some by right of conquest, some by birth and some because the people acclaimed them.
So we have the following categories:
Examples of Powerful People by Category
Today it is hard for us to accept that Hitler would fall in the last category, elected by popular vote, yet it is sadly true. He captured the attention and was able to lead an enthusiastic Germany to disaster, because he had the gift of oratory. He was believable and could whip up the emotions of the common man by using his gift. This illustrates clearly that the rule by popularity eventually falls down, because often people elect those rascals who say what they, the voters, want to hear and who make promises which they cannot keep, in order to get those almighty votes.
I have tried here to put only people who are generally well known. It is noteworthy that there is less and less in the first two categories in the modern world, leaving us with Business Leaders and Popular vote or Acclaim as the two which we are most concerned with today. I have omitted the category of scientific and educational leaders because they are not visibly leading, the knowledge trickles down to us, but no one actively follows an Einstein or a Betrand Russell. They stand beside society and influence its direction of thought, but they do not lead us en masse to do battle with higher mathematics or logical analysis. Their products have a long-term effect but as modified by political or business leaders.
So, what do all these extraordinary people share as qualities? Why do or did people follow them, even in some cases to the point of self-destructive madness?
In all of those that are my contemporaries and of whom I have some personal observation, it is noteworthy that they can all speak very well and with enormous conviction. They can command an audience. Everyone of them has the star quality that in the theater is called stage presence. They seem more present than the ordinary individual. While their message is important, the same words when spoken by someone else do not have the same effect. We are feeling the impact of life force. The sheer force of character communicates to us along with the speech and willy-nilly we are swept along in the current.
I conclude that we are looking at individuals with tremendous amount of Dynamis: life energy.
Their life energy is so powerful that it influences and increases the energy of those within their reach. If we postulate that it is this life energy that enlivens and animates our bodies, then these individuals have so much of it that it can spill over and add to that of others.
This gives us our first ingredient: An unusually high amount of Dynamis being emanated along with the communication spoken, or even written.
The next thing I notice is that each one is able to direct their focus with intensity when speaking. Along with the extra quantity of life comes high volume and extremely powerful amounts of will. The will to do whatever it is they are doing or espousing is very strong in these people.
Charm, or charisma seems to rather over-rated; some of these people were not charming in the slightest degree, yet they commanded attention. People listened to them. Most of them were not persuasive or even particularly skilled at debate, few were even diplomatic, but they were all passionately sold on their various agendas. However, when charisma is also present such a person is pretty unstoppable.
So we get our second and third ingredients: will and passion. I have been unable to isolate any other qualities they all appear to share. Some empower people, some do not, some are selfless, and some are not. The key ingredient is the terrific quantity of life force.
There are three important questions that I asked myself:
These are questions that have baffled philosophers for a long, long time.
Even doctors get into this puzzle, why does one patient survive against all odds, and another simply lie down and die?
How come one person can be so passionate, so involved, so purposeful, and another can barely decide what to have for lunch?
Why are children within the same family and experiencing the same environment so frequently quite different in their psychology?
My Dynamis Theory makes some sense out of the above tangle. Each of us is, in our own way, a creator. We are generating our own Dynamis. Whether there is a higher power to which we are connected generating limitless potentials I will leave to the theologians for the moment.
Some people naturally generate more energy than others. Most of us also have impediments to our energy creation plus old unwanted energy of various types that we lug around with us like old junk we hope will be useful someday.
It is unlikely that we each started off with the same capacity and volume, since each of us is a unique blend of qualities. Jut as kittens in a litter vary in strength, so do we. Even so, a weaker individual operating at full capacity is undoubtedly much more powerful than one operating in the condition we normally see here on Earth.
So let us start by not expecting to all be alike. Not only would this be boring but it would ruin most of our games. Every chess game would end in a stalemate, and every competition result in a draw. Boring!
Individuals have certain qualities and these are blended any number of ways.
First we have general volume of Dynamis production. While this can fluctuate, it has a normal volume for each individual.
Next we have intellect that we use to make sense out of intuition, imagination, hunches and data, in order to direct our efforts.
Next we have will, the engine that we use to move whatever mountain is currently misbehaving.
Other than volume of Dynamis production, all the above are different types of thought. The qualities give us a formula:
Where any one of these is out of balance, high or low, the individual is stronger or weaker in that area, giving us the wild variety of personalities we see around us.
A high volume, high intellect, strong willed, imagination and intuitive person will tend to rise to the top of whatever professional or area of endeavor he chooses.
A high volume, low intellect, high will, low imagination, and little intuition person will probably do very well in areas where sheer power can prevail and is important. The heroes of the Wild West mostly fall in this category.
However, even with all these qualities present, success is unlikely unless there is focus and the ability to express the dreams to others in such a way that they will get behind the wagon and push.
A person without a dream is a person who has given up on life. Our hopes and desires give us the will to live, to drive forward, and to reach for the stars.
A great leader is able to align the dreams of others with his own larger dream, thus forming a juggernaut that elevates him into power. The dream has to be large and embracive enough so that the dreams of others can be included in the action. Groups form due to mutual perception of survival principles. They rally around a dream. Whether the dream is of life after death, as in churches, or of financial security, or world peace, is immaterial to this point. All groups have a dream of some sort. The bigger and more embracive the dream, the more other individual can align to that dream.
A truly great dream can practically revive the dead.
A person can have tremendous personal Dynamis volume, great intellect, intuition and will, but without a dream he has no focus for his talents. He has nowhere to go. With nowhere to go, obviously no one can follow him.
So we get these rules of leadership:
Rule One : Have somewhere to go. (Major purpose.)
Rule Two : State the purpose clearly.
Rule Three : Align all sub goals to the major dream.
Rule Four : Keep the dream alive in the minds of those who follow.
Once these are in place lesser, but still valuable, rules can be helpful.
This last rule is worth a comment or two. Like love, power isn't power until you give it away. Some people like to keep a very tight rein on all decision-making and tight control over everything that happens in their organization. this is not only exhausting it is self-defeating. It dis-empowers your staff terrifically. If you cannot trust a person to make the decisions relating to his position, get someone in there you can empower and trust. A leader who has to descend into the nit-picking daily decision making will not have enough time to keep the broad overall, slightly detached, viewpoint that is necessary in order to lead. This keeps organizations small, limited by how much one person can directly control.
Holding all the controls in one spot is rather like attempting to drive several cars at once. In other words, it is impossible.
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