Leadership. Leadership... People often ask me about leadership and how to improve it through self management. I lead people in Nepal, in fact, I get paid to lead people into dangerous places in Nepal. People pay me to lead, so, it's a very exacting process. The client has the power to choose or not, my leadership. I have found two things important for leadership. They are: Knowing how to Manage the present, Knowing how to Lead the future.
To manage the present there should be
no surprises. People need to feel good about where they are in order
to be well motivated to move to where you want them to go. So,
understanding human nature in this regard is essential. Rather than
projecting values and expectations onto people, which is the surface of
human nature, I'd recommend getting to understand the depth of the
human condition, pre intervention; in other words, beneath the human
To this end, the laws of nature provide a profound understanding.
People grow at the border of chaos and order. Most don't like the
chaos, hence they avoid it. By avoiding chaos, people stop growing, and
nature destroys, or at least humbles anything that doesn't grow.
Frustra are glass ceilings of human growth. When a person reaches
their level of incompetence they get frustrated. In this circumstance
don't blame the circumstance, the boss, or the person. It is a block in
consciousness that's the problem. This can easily be fixed with willing
Emotions are not truth but people identify with them and make them
truth. Once a person has identified with an emotion, positive or
negative, they become attached to that emotion almost to the death.
Nature will, over and over, try to demonstrate that this attachment is
unproductive. Ultimately, nature's final weapon against such attachment
is terminal illness. But there are many warning signs before that.
People are motivated at seven levels and these levels correspond
with nature's seven levels of cellular structure. The lowest level of
motivation is primal, reactive and un-trustable. The highest level is
divine, unresponsive and untrustable. The median level of human
motivation is called self-actualised (for those who don't like fluffy
Eastern language) and for those who do, it's called the human heart.
People who are in desperate circumstances are motivated at the most
primal level. Desperation is sometimes environmental, such as war,
famine, violent regimes and threat to livelihood. Desperation is
mostly, (at least in first and second world countries) mental and
emotional. Even a billionaire can be desperate around wealth. Or a
healthy person can be desperate around health. It all depends on the
mental state of that person.
In the lower realms of motivation, people beat themselves up
terribly. In nature it is commonly known that the environment outside
is just a reflection on the environment inside. So, people who have low
self value inside, attract devaluation on the outside. People who are
hard on themselves on the inside get abused on the outside. People who
are not trusting their intuitions get dishonoured (broken trust) on the
There are three things people want in life at the heart level of
motivation. 1. Someone to love. 2. Something to do. 3. Something to
look forward to. With these, most people at the heart level (sorry -
self actualised level) will become self-managed, healthy and balanced
A person operating at a self-actualised level will have three core
behavioural values. Kindness, generosity and care (primarily for
Manage the future
If a person does not add value to
another person's future, then, they are not a leader. No amount of
leadership training skills, communications skills, personal mastery
skill can change this fact. If people don't think that the person who
is with them can improve their future, then, they do not, under any
circumstances (other than desperation where the evaluation of
improvement for the future is down to units of minutes and hours) hand
power to that individual to lead.
If a person does not have more
clarity, confidence, wisdom, information, fact and proven experience
for creating the future, they are deemed to be a fake. The only
leadership they will achieve is by force or formal structure (not
authentic or real). If there is no real value added by an individual for
the future, then stress, conflict, disharmony, illness, production
loss, arguments, negative team structures and low health - both mental
and physical - will result. The only solution in these circumstances is
blame. Blame works where the leader does not add real value but the
individual has no choice but to subscribe to that leader's instruction.
Blame just makes it possible to cope.
You can add value to people's future by following nature's laws.
The law of balance. People can't lead anyone or anything they
cannot see the balance in. If a leader sees imbalance in anyone, then
that individual is leading the leader.
People can't lead something they are too close to. If a leader is
part of the fun family, immersed in all the issues and dealing with all
the emotions of the team, that leader is part of the problem of the
future, not the solution.
A person who is in desperation motivation can only lead those
people who are more desperate than themselves. Nature's hierarchy. So,
a leader needs to be, at least, higher than, if not at the level of
self actualization in self motivation in order to lead a team.
Infatuation leads to resentment. All nature grows at the border of
chaos and order. A leader who promises a future of more order as a
result of hard work and sacrifice, must either lead and run before
people catch their trick or face the humiliation of having made
promises they can't keep,
Silent communication exists in nature. It also exists in teams. A
leader who is guessing, hoping, wishing, praying for the future to turn
out as they promised, is sunk. Leadership is transparent. If a person
does not have adequate research, knowledge, facts, insights, education
and experience to actually fulfill their promises, the team will feel it
long before it happens.
People who express their emotions, are attached to their emotions,
and can't keep a clear eye, cannot lead, they can only twist,
manipulate and distort the promises of the future until the stage show
is entertaining enough for people to forget their own intuitions. It's
temporary. Nature has a higher order than the current season, or the
storm that passes.
In nature, there's a reason for everything. Ultimately, every sing
leaf that falls, worm that crawls, ant that dies or volcano that erupts
is linked together in a common, unified March toward a future. Nothing
happens that cannot be linked to that higher order, reason. In
leadership, if there is not a "higher" reason for what is being
undertaken, then, by the law of gravity and human self-survival,
fragmented teams, individual agenda's, personal castles, and boundary
lines get drawn. If the leader cannot draw a clear enough and
inspirational enough reason for unity, fragmentation and decay is the
nature of it.
Chris is an international change agent and keynote speaker on self leadership and personal change. He runs treks to the Nepal Himalayas each year leading groups and entrepreneurs on self-discovery journeys to the two highest trekking peaks in the world. Chris lives in Sydney Australia where you'll find him practising natural meditation techniques in Sydney Harbour on his racing ski or sea kayak. Chris Walker has also worked with the Indigenous communities in Canada.