Leadership skills and techniques are useful, but there is no short cut to greatness. It takes deeper developmental work. While many workshops and leadership “experts” claim that there are a few techniques anyone can master to become a great leader and achieve success – after all (they claim), leadership is just a matter of common sense – the reality is that leadership does not arise from common sense at all.
If leadership were just common sense, it would be common. The fact that it is not common, despite all the activity to develop it, suggests that, if short-cuts were possible, we would have all bought the package long ago and would now be enjoying the fruits of success.
Leadership is an uncommon sense because most do not undertake this work as a lifelong discipline. Leadership is connected with the deepest parts of ourselves. It has much more to do with character, courage, and conviction than it does with specific skills or even competencies. Leadership requires wisdom, self-knowledge, and the development of our character at psychological and spiritual levels.
Leadership development is deeply personal. It involves working with the psyche and the soul. True leadership springs from an elevated state of being. It requires a fundamental shift of mind and consciousness. This type of change is threatening for everyone and so it is naturally resisted. The latest five-steps-to-leadership model is a much easier sell than the deep work truly necessary for successful leadership. Leadership development is long-term because systems do not change quicklyespecially our systems of thinking. No matter how much we are addicted to the quick fix, all of the available evidence tells us that change is hard and longwhether we are changing our organization or our consciousness.
And finally, leadership development requires a focus on core disciplines. To become masterful at anything, from a sport to the practice of law, a regular discipline of learning and practice is necessary. The same is true of leadership. The payoff comes with long-term attention. Courage, character, compassion and conviction are the stuff of leadership. These are not common attributes and there is no short cut to them. Only through a deep, long-term discipline will the leadership emerge to guide us through the organizational, national, and global problems that we face today.
In The Leadership Circle’s white paper, Leadership: Uncommon Sense, Bob Anderson (CEO & Founder of The Leadership Circle) attempts to accomplish two objectives. First, he builds a case for the necessity of an in-depth approach to leadership developmentat all levels of the organizationaccompanied by the difficult work of systems change. Second, he describes the terrain of leadership development, that is, the major disciplines that need to be integrated into ones life for genuine development to take place. Through the white paper, he navigates through common dilemmas of leadership, the importance of changing paradigms, the structure of creative tension, inner and action leadership disciplines, and the importance of spirituality and purpose.
Discover the long-term and inner changes necessary for leadership effectiveness by reading The Leadership Circle’s white paper Leadership: Uncommon Sense. Additional white papers can also be downloaded on The Leadership Circle’s White Papers page.