Leading Beyond the Ego

Leading Beyond the Ego:  How to Become a Transpersonal Leader
, by John Knights, Danielle Grant, & Greg Young  Routledge, 2018
 
How good a leader are you? 
 
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Table 3e Characteristics of good and bad leaders
 
Best leaders                                                                            Worst leaders
Involvement of people                                                             Bullying
Engaging                                                                                     Short attention span
Transparent                                                                                Fear (ruled by fear)
Listened                                                                                       Aggressive
Encouraging                                                                                Cold
Supportive Approachable                                                         Pretense
Inspirational                                                                                Chaos
Consistent                                                                                     Threatened
Trustworthy                                                                                  Lack of trust
Shares information and experiences                                       Not trustworthy
Visiionary                                                                                      Blame culture
                                                                                                         Poor communication
                                                                                                         No vision
                                                                                                         Loud and abrupt
                                                                                                         self-oriented
 
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And when you think back on the leaders you've been lucky enough to serve under - for me, Romey Everdell of Rath & Strong,  Ken Olsen of Digital Equipment Corporation - no doubt the bad ones will also come to mind immediately - Edson DeCastro, Data General, for example.  For those of us in the middle, not yet big leaders, but aspiring, what can we learn and practice that will make the path clearer, the footsteps firmer?
 
Leading Beyond the Ego's three co-authors offer a variety of approaches to advancing good leadership, from learning how intellectual, especially brain physiology, emotional and spiritual intelligence can be combined and raised to create what they call "transpersonal leadership."  We know that the personality and ethics of the leader determines the personality and ethics of the organization, and the book shows with powerful examples and quick questions how companies can alter their leadership style to reach different objective.
 
The authors divide the leadership population into three stages, using the acronym REAL to illustrate:
 
Beginning (REAL 1)
Rational
Ego based, As-usual Leaders
 
Intermediate (REAL 2)
Robust
Emotionally Aware Leaders
 
Advanced (REAL 3)
Radical
Ethically Authentic Leaders
 
 
 
Turns out the answers lie partly in our own brains.  Readers will enjoy Chapter 4, The Neuroscience of Leadership, Default and emotions, for a look at how our brain segments operate in this critical area.  According to Knights, "The bad news is that within the hardwired genetic makeup of our brain there is a natural default to behave like someone living in the Stone Age."  Boom, quite a challenge!  But "the better news is that a certain part of our brain is reconfigurable ."  He calls this saving grace "neuro-plasticity," and it allows us the ability to change to focus, and to develop new leadership strengths.  Thank goodness. 
 
Great summer read, not recommended for readers looking for quick fixes.  This book takes us into the whys as well as the hows of leadership development.

Patricia E. Moody
FORTUNE magazine  "Pioneering Woman in Mfg" 
IndustryWeek IdeaXchange Xpert
A Mill Girl at Blue Heron Journal, on-line resource for business thought-leaders and decision-makers, pemoody@aol.com, patriciaemoody@gmail.com, tricia@patriciaemoody.com
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