Leadership management

Rev Fr Paul Lelen Haokip *

Introduction: We are lucky to have a bundle of great people who have walked the way of Leadership and Management. Our work perhaps is to learn and imbibe those great traits for our present situation allowing some pertinent adaptations and openness for innovation. Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) was and is one of the world´s most esteemed experts on human behaviour and motivation. He is most famous for his work in the area of humanistic psychology but he has also another kind of legacy for us.

He translated the science of the mind into the art of management in "Eupsychian Management" (It comes from 'eu' meaning good like euphoria and 'psyche' meaning, basically, mind or soul), first published in 1962 and 37 years later as an updated version called "Maslow on Management". He had quite radical thoughts about management which were far ahead of his own time.

He wrote about enlightened management policy which assumes that all people have the impulse to achieve; everyone prefers to be a prime mover rather than a passive helper; everyone wants to feel important, needed, useful, successful and proud; there is no dominance-subordination hierarchy. In this small article, let us try to reflect on: What is good leadership? What are the most crucial elements in leadership? What are the key leadership competencies? How can we develop leaders for the present and future? How we ourselves could become better leaders?

Let us see if this reflection can create leadership framework for intelligent organizations which is effective and tries to create a sense of well-being in our normal life. Moreover, leadership is seen as a process, not a position. In whatever capacity that you are, if you are able to read this article, you are already a leader in some way. And this piece may help you a bit as to 'how' to manage Leadership.

What is Leadership?

There is no 'one' and 'only' definition about Leadership. It is a combination of many relevant traits applied most successfully in a given situation. Today´s leader faces many paradoxes where either-or-decisions are simply not possible. A leader has to be able to make both-and-decisions.

We could see the summarized typical paradoxes the leader is facing today as follows: 1. be near and take distance 2. lead action and remain in the background 3. trust people and control them 4. be patient and determined 5. see the benefit of the department and the whole company 6. be a visionary and a doer 7. try to get commitment and decide alone 8. act and reflect 9. be self-confident and humble 10. take care of efficiency and well-being. The life of a leader is full of paradoxes. The better you are in solving and living with these paradoxes the better you are as a leader.

Intelligent Leadership: Intelligent Leadership is shared and collaborative; therefore significantly different from the way leadership has been addressed in mainstream models. Intelligent leadership widens the area of influence from individuals to teams, to organizations and to societies. Intelligent Leadership should help individuals to develop themselves comprehensively as human beings. It should support working individuals in becoming self-directed teams. It should support organizations in becoming intelligent.

And in addition to this, it should support all of us in building intelligent societies, where we can integrate economy, ethics and ecology. This is the ultimate goal of all leadership training. Intelligent Leadership is a dialogue between leader(s) and followers where they try to influence each other in a certain situation in order to achieve shared vision (purpose) and objectives effectively. This process will take place in a certain team and organization in which the same values and culture are shared. The macro environment – industry and society – also affects this process. The willingness to share good resources to each other is a prerequisite element towards achieving Intelligent Leadership.

True Leadership: Being focused and dedicated to one's area of core competence (area of greatest expertise) is of utmost value. Just trying to don leadership will be hazardous at least to the people being led (if not for the person who wrongly ascends the leadership ladder). During the 90´s we were mainly focusing on process management, re-engineering, company culture, quality and organizational learning.

After having implemented all of those, it has come to our notice that something is still missing, because the organization is still far from functioning properly. Many a time the missing link is True Leadership. There seems to be lack of true leaders, who are able to create and sustain an inspiring vision and implement the vision together with their team members.

Good Self-leadership: Every good and bad starts from self. The self is so important that it cannot give what it does not have. The sun gives heat because it is filled with energy. So also a leader guides or gives because something valuable is within that is worth sharing. Leadership is more art than science and it consists of very concrete small actions. The basis for all leadership and management is Good Self-leadership. Becoming a good leader requires certain kind of values and principles.

The biggest obstacle for learning leadership is the leader herself/himself (the ability to change and develop or the hesitation to change that leads to putrid stagnancy). Let us see if these six different perspectives to management can tickle us personally and express them by six questions: 1) How to lead yourself? 2) How to lead others? 3) How to manage things? 4) How to manage technology? 5) How to manage markets? 6) How to manage strategy?

The simple truth behind leadership has been known probably for as long as human records exist. The oracle's advice in ancient Delphi (ancient town and seat of the most important Greek temple and oracle of Apollo. It lay in the territory of Phocis on the steep lower slope of Mount Parnassus, about 6 miles from the Gulf of Corinth. Delphi is now a major archaeological site with well-preserved ruins) says "Know thyself". This is the basic principle in leadership; in order to lead others you must be capable to lead yourself. It was recognized by Aristotle, who talked about the "virtuous activity of the soul", and it was developed further by the Stoic philosophers in classical antiquity.

Also the Christian monastic orders perfected various methods for learning, how to channel one's thoughts and desires. Ignatius of Loyola rationalized them in his famous spiritual exercises. All these methods focus on attempting to free consciousness from the domination of impulses and social control. Another set of Eastern disciplines that have become popular in the West are the so-called martial arts. They include eg. judo, jujitzu, kung fu, karate, tae kwon do, aikido and T'ai Chi Ch'uan. These martial arts were influenced by Taoism and Zen Buddhism, and they also emphasize different kinds of consciousness-controlling skills; they are directed toward improving the mental and spiritual state of the practitioner.

One of the great Eastern methods for training the body, soul and spirit is the set of practices known as Hatha Yoga. It is worth reviewing some of its highlights, because it may be the oldest self-management (self-leadership) technique. It is therefore a useful model for everyone who wishes to be in better charge of psychic energy. In Sanskrit Yoga means "union". It is derived from the Sanskrit root "yuj," (pronounce as "yug") meaning "to join", "to unite" but also "to subjugate", with the meaning also "to control" and "to disciplinate".

The English word "yoke" is also derived from the same Sanskrit (Indo-European) root. "Yoke" refers to the goal of joining the individual with God. This joining process means first uniting the various parts of the body with one another, and then making the body as a whole work together with consciousness as a part of an ordered system. All the above described traditions of self awareness are ways of conducting oneself honourably in our everyday activities.

Intelligent Organizations: Intelligence means the capability to use different kind of competencies in various domains of body, mind, emotion and spirituality in order to solve problems or create products in a particular cultural setting. Management is a general process of planning, organizing, controlling, problem solving and decision making. Exaggerating a little, you could say that to be a leader was a position in the beginning of the 80´s but nowadays it is a task; a very difficult and challenging task to lead an organization to excellence. The global world of the twenty-first century requires new leaders with a unique combination of competencies to make Intelligent Organizations.

We all are living in a turbulent world where nothing else is certain other than change. We should build intelligent organizations which could survive in our turbulent world. In intelligent organizations we would also need many new kinds of competencies, but certainly competencies connected to creativeness, innovation, renewal and self-management would be crucial.

An intelligent organization is capable of continuous renewal, able to foresee changes and learn fast before changes change it for worse. An intelligent organization is not a mechanistic machine, but instead resembles a living organism that can steer its own operations and development. Daily leadership meant a lot of dialogue and working together as a team. An effective leader will have the capacity to use his or her Self as the vehicle – the blank canvas for sensing, tuning in to, and bringing into presence that which wants to emerge.

Conclusion: Competence consists of knowledge, skills, attitudes, experience and contacts that enable good performance in a certain situation. A leader needs 360 degree flexibility – being open to assessment, change and innovation. Leadership Self-Assessment Tool leads to self-reflection impulses for self and the organization one works with and for.

We can say we have managed our Leadership when the organization we work in achieves its objectives through our instrumentality. Personally we can win trophies; together with others, we can win championships. When you are able to manage yourself, you are nearing the process of management itself.

* Rev Fr Paul Lelen Haokip wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is pursuing Masters in Pastoral Management in JDV, Pune
This article was posted on September 13, 2017.

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