The past few weeks I’ve been posting blogs focused on leadership based on my extensive research work in organizational management. My choice to focus on this topic was based on the fact that as a nation, we are in the process of deciding who we believe will make the best candidate to assume the helm as the next president of the United States. Most citizens, like myself, are looking for a candidate with integrity; one that is accountable, whose decisions and actions make us feel safe about the direction the country is headed. More and more of us are motivated by the power of positive thinking; people of this mindset tend to yearn for an individual who can infect us with a sincere enthusiasm about leading this nation down a more successful and prosperous path. After all, this country grew and became a great nation because of the determination and focused actions our forefathers took as courageous leaders that were driven by a deep passion to pursue justice and freedom while protecting its people and helping the nation expand and prosper.
The citizens of this country deserve the kind of leader whose actions display sincere intentions with decisions that are driven by a concerted effort to bring order to the institutions that govern this nation. In addition, this country deserves a leader whose choices include an ongoing goal of maintaining peace and restoring economic balance. What I’ve been describing sounds like the kind of leader one would find in the heroic Arthurian journey. Isn’t that the kind of leader most citizens seek? Doesn’t the public deserve a genuine leader of that magnitude? If not, then why are people flocking to hear the negative rhetoric from Republican front runner Donald Trump? In truth, he’s merely expressing what the majority of the constituents are feeling … sick and tired of a dysfunctional government system.
What inspired me to pursue a Master’s degree in Organizational Management was a passionate eagerness to really understand the nuts and bolts about what it takes to create a successful organization with top performers. So I rolled up my sleeves and dug in deep, absorbing all the information I could muster from a wide variety of sources. I also had the opportunity to conduct extensive analyses of both the failures and successes of others as well as my own. What I discovered, was that while there are many components required in creating a prosperous organization, without the placement of effective leadership guiding the direction of the group, any organization will most likely face hardship taking off, let alone finding its niche in the marketplace with successful outcomes.
In my eBook, Ethics in the Real World (2013) my research work reveals that an individual’s attitude and values has an effect on their predispositions towards others, as well as how they interpret concepts and unfolding events. People rely on their experience and perceptions to solve issues sometimes allowing emotions to guide the thinking and decision-making process. Individuals, for instance, without suitable self-management skills, tend to experience more challenges in social arenas and make different decisions than a person who is confident with self-esteem. Furthermore, leaders who lack self-awareness seem to experience difficulty picking up on the boundaries and emotions of others. This makes it difficult to develop healthy relationships because of their inability to relate to others with compassion (Berry, 2013). All of these components help shape an individual’s leadership style and what they perceive as ethical behavior.
As American voters focus their attention on the New Hampshire Primary, this week, the Republicans and Democrats are both vying for citizens’ attention and are eager for another opportunity to make a splash to convince constituents why they are the best candidate to lead the direction of this fabulous nation. However, in order to determine the best candidate for the position, we must first look at the components that constitute a good leader. In other words, in order to choose the best candidate, the kind of leader this nation deserves, it is up to us to conduct our own research to help us make the best decision available. But first, we must ask ourselves to identify the qualities of a successful leader and then determine which candidate displays most, if not all of them. In my own personal experience working with a wide range of CEOs and Executive Managers, the best leaders were those who: (a) continued to re-examine outdated views and determined which business paradigms required more focus and development; (b) were open to upgrading systems to achieve and maintain smooth operational functions; and (c) possessed an inherent ability to inspire and motivate staff members in reaching their highest potential. These qualities exhibit a kind of leader who is capable of making mindful choices and works diligently to keep morale up.
John O’Neil (1999) eloquently laid out a formula to help leaders cultivate effective leadership styles in his book, Leadership Aikido, (1999) where he introduced six concepts developed from the martial arts tradition of Aikido. This plan is focused on achieving victorious outcomes without creating harm. O’Neil provides the following outline as a tool for managers to assess and develop their own efficient leadership style:
- Cultivating self-knowledge;
- Practicing the paradoxical art of planning;
- Speaking the language of mastery;
- Letting values drive the decision making process;
- Turning failure into success; and
- Heeding the law of unintended consequences (O’Neil, 1999).
Based on these practices, O’Neil asserts that through the elements of Aikido, leaders are in a better position to identify and overcome what he defines as the five inner enemies that can impede progress: (1) failure to grow emotionally; (2) failure to make creative decisions; (3) failure to empathize; (4) failure to manage ego; and (5) failure to overcome alienation and boredom (O’Neil, 1999). This perspective embraces personal power and energy as the vital components for developing effective leadership styles.
On Thursday, we will continue this discussion and take a closer look at which of the current candidates display some, if any, of these leadership qualities.
Until then … keep learning and enhancing your own leadership skills!
Through the right people focusing on the right things, we can, in time, get on top of a lot if not most of the problems of this world. And that’s what a number of us are trying to do.
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Mayr’s Author’s Page
Berry, M. A. (2013). Ethics in the Real World. USA: Kindle Direct Publishing.
O’Neil, J. (1999). Leadership aikido. New York, NY: Three Rivers Press.