Heading into the Unknown? Get REAL

post by
Greg Young :

How many of those in
leadership roles we encounter slot into this description of Rational,

based, As usual Leaders.  You’ve probably
come across them.  All they use are
sticks and carrots as motivational tools and wonder why people won’t go that
extra mile.  They’re more concerned about
how things will look to others when they make decisions which they do to make
themselves look good, or for power, prestige, recognition or reward.  They aren’t thinking about others, they’re
thinking about their bonus, or promotion, or trip on the company jet, or even
faults they can point out in others to make themselves look better.  What they are not thinking about is their
team members, or the customer or any other stakeholder for that matter.

I suspect, if you have
been keeping up with the way the world seems to be going, what you are really
looking for is a leader you can look up to, one who you trust and because of
that, one you will follow.  Leaders like
this can be Radical, they are Ethical and Authentic Leaders.  They do not fret about their own importance
because to be able to operate this way they understand their own egos, and for
the purposes of good leadership they operate beyond their ego.  There’s a word for this, it’s called Transpersonal
– beyond the ego.

But you see, that’s the
challenge – how do you get from that ego based leader to be transpersonal?  In my experience, this is a journey that many
people are willing, indeed aspire to make. 
However, many people find in challenging to know where to start,
especially in practical terms.  To do
that you need to consider what a leader actually does.  Stripped back to the bare bones, the role of
the leader is threefold:

1.    Generate

2.    Bring
them to a place they would not ordinarily go

3.    Inspire
new leaders

Let’s make some sense
of that; without followers, a person is leading no-one so they cannot be
regarded as a leader.  Even people in
authority whose underlings do their bidding are not necessarily leaders; fears
of job security, some form of punishment or coercion do not generate followers,
they do not follow of their free will. 

In the second
statement, the most important word is the word “bring”.  That means going to where your followers
currently are, metaphorically putting your arm around them and shepherding them
to where you want them to be.  This is
the direction element and can be literally to take them to a different place,
or in business it more frequently means to shift behaviour, attitude or

Finally, and this is an
element that is most frequently overlooked, a leader’s role is to inspire new
leaders, passing the baton of good leadership onto a new generation. 

To generate followers
you really need to understand them; to understand them and their fears, you
first need to understand yourself.  So
the journey begins with self-awareness, understanding your own fears, and
emotions.  Whilst you cannot prevent an
emotion, you can learn to manage how you handle it and in doing that you are
managing yourself and how you respond to various triggers.  Now you can begin to empathise, to understand
other people and what makes them tick. 
You can think yourself into their shoes and see things from their
perspective, becoming socially aware.  Having
mastered the ability to see things from the viewpoint of others, then you can
begin to manage your relationships and how you interact with people, building
trust and understanding on a mutual basis. 

Thankfully, all of
these things can be learned through practice.   You can generate new habits by building new
neural pathways.  This will then give you
access to all the different leadership styles and to understand how they work,
what they achieve and when (and when not) to use them.

Knowing that you can
bring people with you, you can move to the next level; bringing into full
consciousness your own values and judgement, morals and ethics.  You understand how you make decisions and
which stakeholder(s) they are in service of. 
The question here is whether your decisions are in service of you and
personal reward, or have you taken yourself, your ego, out of the process?  Have you moved to a place beyond the ego to
become a Transpersonal leader?  With this
new found freedom, you will see things in a new light, be able to make
decisions for a common good that will be ethical and authentic, and, if
necessary, radical. 

Greg Young is a Co-founder and Chief Executive of LeaderShape Global. He is inspirational in the field of leadership development, and co-author, with John Knights and Danielle Grant, of LEADING BEYOND THE EGO: How To Become A Transpersonal Leader.
For more
information, please visit