Never in the history of mankind has there been a greater need for leadership and yet there is a massive shortage. The reason is simple. Leadership is taught in universities and courses by intellectual ‘fu – k – wits’ who talk a good game, but don’t play. Today’s model by and large teaches about leadership with fancy theories. What’s missing is the practical application of how to actually be a leader.
Think about it – how stupid is that? It’s like trying to teach Roger Federer how to play tennis in a classroom. We all know that to be a tennis player you have to actually play the game of tennis, on the court. Why should leadership be any different? In a nutshell, what’s needed is a new paradigm to enable access to ‘break-through’ and actually be a leader rather than ‘break- down’ examples of knowing about leadership.
Let me give you an example.
I’m standing on a bridge over a canyon with a river raging below and I’m nervous. The air is icy cold and I’m sipping on a hot drink to warm up. For the past few hours I’ve been trying to pluck up the courage to step up to a platform on the side of a bridge somewhere in Queenstown, New Zealand. I’m on high alert, my heart is beating rapidly and my thoughts are screaming out, “this is mad, don’t do it.” The pressure is huge. I don’t want to look bad in front of my colleagues who are all doing the jump as part of our company’s annual sales manager’s conference. When I finally step onto the platform I am petrified, too scared to look down so I just look straight ahead completely frozen with fear. The instructor bounds up my feet and says “I’m going to count to three, then jump.
One, two ….”
Now here’s the thing. Knowing that I have a safety cord tied around my leg doesn’t help me to overcome my fear of heights. I’m crapping myself. Knowing I’m in the hands of skilled instructors doesn’t help me either. In that moment of truth, I needed to draw on something else to overcome my greatest fear and having what it takes to jump off the platform into the raging river below with little more than a giant rubber band tied around my leg.
So here’s the crucial question – what was it that would gave me the courage I needed in that moment to jump? When all I had was fear? Since that moment over twenty five years ago I have witnessed hundreds of people overcome the challenges and fears they had. I have seen them access something deeper within to transform their lives for the better when all they had was fear, frustration and seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
I have worked with drug, alcohol, sex addictions, violence and marginalized families and fighting couples. I have also worked with many executives wanting to become effective leaders. Yet they all had hidden internal barriers that stood in their way. We all have challenges we need to face and overcome if we are to live more satisfying lives and break-through our barriers that most often exist in the mind.
What’s needed is a new paradigm for leadership performance that enables personal transformation to actually be a leader. There are three stages:
- Psycho-therapeutic awareness to distinguish the hidden barriers to your performance that block you often without your awareness.
- Removing dysfunctional habits that act as natural governors to performance. Commonly these are: being inauthentic, uncommitted, out of integrity, disconnected, lacking meaning and a bigger purpose.
- Creating a powerful future to provide the context for your performance in the present. (You cannot be your future if you are still living out of the past).