Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Leadership from the Heart

Many people study books and read endless articles on Leadership, and yet I have seen that this type of study has only a very negligible impact on most of them.

Typical examples of this can be found within the academic area where faculty teachers can lecture only from a theoretical basis because most of them have never run a business or have never been a leader.

So we can return to the question of "Can leadership be taught"?

From  my experience I have learned the following about this question:

Intellectualising as to a way of leadership is little more than an idea. Intellectualising means that we are thinking about it and when we think about a subject then the contents of that thinking are based only on what we have read and what we have been taught. This way of thinking then is mainly what I call "subjective". It has been affected by the way we interpret the words that we have read and the spoken words of the lecturer. Within the context of what we have read or heard it means little-it all remains in our mind as a theory upon which we then add our own assumptions and expectations based on prior thinking. In other words within this context we have little opportunity to move from "subjective" to "objective".

It is the application of this new knowledge that is important and the application only comes from practice and when we practice something we are then developing ways of changing our behavior and thus move from "subjective" to "objective".

So I believe that leadership can come from the practice of our behavioral skills. An example of this is how we would react to a crisis. If we read or attend lectures about crisis management we would mostly forget the content within a short period of time but if we have the opportunity for the practice of the necessary behavioural skills that one should apply during a crisis then from this we can learn something.

From practice and particularly from failure is how we can move from a "subjective" to an "objective" viewpoint.

I believe that leadership either of oneself or of others comes from the emotional objective experience and that the impact of this has been with our Heart.

Essentially I have learned that true leadership therefore comes from the Heart which can be the centre of our emotional objective experiences. The Heart has little or nothing to do with our intellectual nature and our intellectual responses.

People will follow the person who acts from the Heart because they know that this person reflects honesty and integrity and speaks with truth and when this is combined with real experience, care and compassion then they not only exhibit the qualities of a true leader but others can feel their genuine interest and understanding.

So if you are leader and you have difficulties in being believable to others and you feel that people do not generally trust you or have confidence in you then you should look at your motivations. You should look into your Heart and see if you truly believe all that you say and all that you do. People intuitively understand your motivations and if those motivations  are not honest then you will lose them. There is an old saying which is "you can fool some of the people some of the time but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time".

With the development of greater self awareness and true self understanding we can then honestly begin the process of leadership not from books and not from the lecture theatre but from the Heart.

Monday, 26 September 2011

The Incredible benefits of Failure and Change

Maybe this is a very contradicting title-"The benefits of Failure"? How could failure be a benefit but of course when we start to think about it we then begin to develop a realisation about it and we can see that in fact this is a way of learning for us.

The problem is of course that failure is a little like change-we do not like to "fail" and we do not like "change" and, regretably we see both of these activities in a negative way. To most people we see "failure" as being the opposite of success and of course we all want to be succesful. If we are not a success then clearly we are a failure and it seems that our whole society is built around this concept of success in all that we do or say or think. We are conditioned from a very early age to strive for success and this success is usually in the eyes or the expectations of someone else. Eventually we buy into it because of media and advertising and demands and attitudes of society - but this does not mean that success is all that it aspires in our minds to be.

Therefore let us look at "Failure" from a different perspective. "Failure" is a mental state so let us look at it differently. Because of our background we are conditioned to accept that we need to avoid failure and that we should strive for an expectation of success in our activities but when we look at the World and all its issues mostly we can see only overwhelming failures. Failures on behalf of Governments, Leaders, Politicians, Companies, Infrastructures etc-almost everywhere we look we can find a multitude of "things" that we can describe as being a "failure".

Essentially I believe that we have the wrong attitude and it is this attitude that then psychologically detrimentally affects us in the Workplace when we are confronted by the concept of change.

When we "fail" we have not achieved an expectation and so we feel disappointed and in consequence we then become fearful of trying something new. The more we experience "failure" then the more we can become fearful until we reach a mental state of being in "Procrastination" and when this happens we stagnate and the "failure" becomes worse. When we are then confronted with the concept of "change" our mind moves very fast to the idea of "potential failure" and so we fall into a self imposed psychological trap. In other articles I have written about the "Assassin Within" and it is clear that the "Assassin Within" thrives on the idea of "failure" and its connection to "change".

Essentially if we stay within our self imposed boundaries we can potentially avoid "failure" and thus we can hide from "Change".

But, if we allow ourselves to be this way then we overlook many things which can be of great benefit to us and some of these things are:

  • By stretching ourselves into unchartered territory we learn more about ourselves and of course we learn something new about that subject
  • Every new experience that we have has an impact on us and gives us the opportunity to see things from a different perspective
  • By giving ourselves the opportunity to do something new then we can learn about the potential failure but we can still plan for success but if this is not achieved then we have learned much for our future efforts
  • We are building up a sense of our own resilience which is one of the great attributes of a Leader-resilience comes from the knowledge and experience of failure and with this sense of endurance we can develop a greater sense of ourselves
  • We learn about the detrimental impact of not extending ourselves beyond the self imposed boundaries because when we can go beyond them we can then truly judge the impact of procrastination
  • The combination of failure, determination and resilience will give us both the skills, the virtues and the experience to become great leaders of ourselves and of others. 
By undertaking projects or activities that will stretch us beyond the normal then we give ourselves the chance for greater self understanding and when this is combined with the characteristics of determination and resilience we are then developing the survival skills of true Leadership.

By accepting the inevitability of change the same way then this gives us further opportunity to develop the same attributes.

It is from such things that we are able to truly develop ourselves as human beings and by understanding our own nature, our own fears and senses we can then start the process of understanding others and helping them achieve their own ambitions.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Introduction to Noble Leadership-A Personal Perspective


"Treat people as if they are already what they ought to be and you help them to become what they are capable of being".

Throughout my life I have made a number of self discoveries. Some time ago as a result of unfortunate circumstances I was given the time to investigate myself. I studied myself intently for 2 years and some of my friends said to me that I was very fortunate to have this time to spend on myself. Of course I was fortunate and I agreed with them but some time later I discovered the real meaning of what they had said and I am sure that they did not even realise the implications.
Of course they were implying that they do not have this time to spend getting to know themselves. Can you imagine this? It applies to all of us. We simply do not have the time.

We lead a full life. Usually our life is work, work and more work. We have a family and then we have to find time to squeeze this family into our work life. We do this because we want to be successful in work but why do we really want to do this? What does this mean to be successful? What drives one person to extraordinary lengths to want to be a leader and yet others just work hard with no further ambition other than to keep their jobs and look after their families. And, who is right? Is this what is known as "Work-Life balance"?

Life is hard and we all struggle. When I was younger I wanted to be very successful. I wanted to travel the World, lead an interesting life, be successful in the corporate world, become a CEO or be self employed. I wanted to be admired. I wanted to be somebody important. Do you think this is the reason why we do what we do- just to be important?

So from this period of self examination I have discovered some very interesting truths:

1 I have learnt about time. Time is all we do have. When we are born we unknowingly have a certain amount of time at our disposal. It is similar to buying a phone card where we have a certain number of available minutes to make our calls and then the card expires. Our life is the same. We have a certain number of minutes to do all that we should and then we expire. So time is all we have and so we should use it with wisdom and integrity.

2 The second simple truth I discovered was about all the time I had wasted by not getting to know myself. It seems that I had spent a great portion of my life avoiding myself by trying to become this "something". As an example this "something" which for a while was to be a CEO was a struggle but in the end I achieved my target. I became something but I had avoided the real objective to my life. I had avoided finding myself.

3 The third simple truth is that I had wasted a lot of time in the pursuit of materialistic dreams. If only I had had some teacher in my earlier life who had told me about the importance of finding myself or finding my "Real Nature" then my life would have been more fulfilled much earlier. This is the real secret to personal success. Find yourself and then be the best self you possibly can.

4 The next simple truth for me was about happiness. If you want to be happy then this can only be achieved when you are living with your "Real Nature". You are not trying to be something else. You are only yourself. In order to achieve this and live your life this way then you must understand your values and you must develop virtues and good habits. You must develop your own philosophy of life and this has to be a philosophy of the highest order.

Recently an Article was published in Australia about happiness and this was the result of a survey. The survey showed increased levels of happiness in Australians whereby males had increased up to 28% and women to 32%. The article made this seem to be a success for the Australian population however I was staggered because all I saw was that 72% of men were unhappy and 68% of women were unhappy. This unhappiness is a disease and it can spread and infect everyone because it is the nature of most humans to dwell on the negatives around them.

If you do not believe this then read a newspaper, watch television news and you will see the focus of the world. It is quite possible that this unhappiness is at a pandemic level.

We of course can change this situation. We can start the change within ourselves. If you do not know yourself then you will never be completely happy and if you cannot be completely happy then you will not achieve the success that you want.

To be happy is not something that comes later when you have reached that next promotion or become retired or buy that new car or new house. Happiness is a part of self awareness which comes from knowing yourself.

Are you prepared to confront yourself? Are you prepared to determine the values and virtues by which you should live and then to live your life in accordance. Are you prepared to live your life within this new philosophy because if you are then you are on the Way to go beyond happiness into living with your Real Nature?

When you achieve this then you will become self inspired and in so doing can inspire all others around you. We also need to improve our Self Efficiency and Effectiveness because from the basis of being well organised in all that we do and think then we have created the foundation for greater personal development into self awareness. The absence of this will be an obstacle to us and we will never truly feel that we are the Masters of our life. Naturally this obstacle will also flow into our relationships with all people around us.

Life often is about choices. Sometimes the message is there waiting for us to take it but often we do not see it. Sometimes we see too late and fail to act.

In our Workshops and Programs you can learn about the 3 Principles by which you can transform your life into being a Noble and Inspirational Leader for yourself and for others. You will also learn about the underlying components of these Principles and see how they can be applied successfully into all aspects and situations in your life.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Anthony_David_Foster

Monday, 19 September 2011

The Endless Source of Inspiration

I am very fortunate to have lived and worked in many parts of the World and experienced many cultures. Throughout this time I have met many leaders and had the opportunity to watch them work and see how they function as human beings. In my own life both personally and professionally I have enjoyed the benefits of both success and failure. In fact I have probably gained the most benefit from failure but along the way I have observed the following characteristics of Inspiration.

Where does it come from and what is the constant source of inspiration that we may look for as leaders? Is it financial? Is it the sense of achievement gained when we see revenue or financial targets being reached? Is it the feeling of success when we attract a new client or customer?

From the many leaders that I have known and observed I can see that in reality it is none of these things. Most of those things are transient and they come and go because they are only "material things". The reaching of financial targets is great but of itself has little to offer in giving me inspiration. Getting new clients are great but have little to do with inspiration although how I interact with those clients may have a lot to do with Inspiration.

Such Inspiration can only come from people and our relationships with them. When one is inspired then you feel good about yourself, you feel renewed, confident and act with a sense of purpose.

When you do something to help someone else then you will feel the same benefits. If you do it well for their benefit, if you give them hope (one of the clear characteristics of a truly Noble Leader) , if you give them confidence to do something which they felt was beyond their capability then you will have inspired them. In so doing you will enjoy the benefits back yourself-you in turn will feel inspired.

If is from our development of others that we can derive this sense of inspiration. When we can see that it is possible to transform people from being what they think they are into something which they would like to be then we can see the possibility in all people. Of course as we go we are all learning the skills of self development and as we learn more about others then we learn more about ourselves and in so doing we create another aspect of Inspiration.

In practicality Inspiration does not come from reading books or articles about Inspiration. It only comes from the practical application of reaching out to others to help them achieve their objectives and helping them to reach their aspirations and this process creates a catalyst for our enduring Self Inspiration.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Tips to stay motivated at work

Most of us from time to time lose our sense of motivation, direction and inspiration. I have studied this changing of mental states for a long time and have started to recognise that all we are experiencing is simply these passing mental states. One moment we feel this way and within a short period of time we move to a different way of feeling. This is what I call the Changing Mental States.

This can of course detrimentally effect our work and performance but how can we manage it more effectively?

Firstly we need to practice a few very simple techniques and they are:

 Devote yourself to using your diary or calendar. Ensure that you have all appointments and all plans within that medium. Do not vary from this practice. As you plan your day within the diary or calendar it is also important to allow yourself time for adequate reflection and to plan forward.

Devote time each day or week to cleaning your workplace and ensuring that all your paperwork and electronic filing is up to date. Build this time also into your Diary or Calendar.

Manage your meetings and ensure that you focus on the issues at hand and keep meeting times to a minimum-particularly those of an inhouse kind.

Ensure that you have an adequate diet and devote time each day to exercise and sleep.

Write down all the good ideas that you have and refer back to them to ensure that you build them into your life. You can be your own greatest teacher and coach so do not overlook this opportunity for greater personal self development.

Remember that joy and happiness does not come from things external to us-they come only from inside us.

Leadership-Beyond a Doubt

Leadership is about giving hope and inspiration to others. In order to do this we have to free of self doubt. This is easy to say but for many people very difficult to put into practice. Self doubt and uncertainty seem to be a part of daily life in this modern World. Many people in fact cover this doubt and uncertainty with arrogance and displayed self importance but by careful observation we can see the extent of their fraud. If the Leader is not sincere then there can be little doubt as to the nature of their real self being portrayed to us.

When we are sincerely and actively giving hope to others then at the same time we are inspiring them. Paradoxically this hope and inspiration comes back to us and then we feel self inspired. The interesting thing that we can note is that it required very little from us-virtually no energy and not much time but the rewards from inspiring others and thus inspiring ourselves are long lasting. The other partner to sincerity is consistency for without it then the hope and inspiration will become confused and misguided.

I have known many leaders who consistently fail to inspire and give hope to others. They confuse the benefits of these two virtues with displays of anger, disappointment and arrogance and this will never inspire their people. People leave organisations because of the failure of the Leader.

So from my many consultations with many leaders at all levels I have seen the benefit of being able to give hope and inspire others. This can come from our own internal attitude towards ourselves by removing the doubt and the uncertainty that often stifles our progress - we have to learn to move forward with confidence and go beyond doubt and uncertainty and in so doing we then learn the benefits of giving hope and consistent inspiration to others.