A True Leader Knows the Way, Goes the Way, and Shows the
The call for true leaders
True leaders are not characterized by the string of degrees they have behind their name or their years of
experience, because such individuals are a dime a dozen. A true leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and
shows the way. Our world today needs enlightened leaders who can manage not only from the mind but from their heart
and soul as well.
Over-emphasis on “strategic” business
Today’s leadership still over-emphasizes the mental, intellectual or “strategic” side of business. Not enough
attention is paid to the personal side of it. Strategic leadership tends to focus on guaranteeing bottom-line
results as in increasing sales, maximizing profits and beating the competition. This functional focus often
disregards the human, emotional or personal dimension. The authoritarian “boss” is never effective because it
suppresses the human spirit. A true leader guides others to discover their innate creative talents thereby
uplifting the human spirit.
The mindless race against time and competition has caused corporations and nations to spend unthinkable sums of
money on new strategies, new data, new systems and infrastructure, because it is assumed that people will improve
if systems change. On the contrary, current statistics reflect an increasing trend in employee ill health, medical
bills and higher absenteeism, all of which has resulted in lower employee productivity.
True leaders need to be humane
What is not understood is that real and lasting transformation is an act of individual will. The willingness to
offer one’s best comes not from the head but from the heart and soul. Thus, what is required is a fresh
determination to value the human being, raise his spirit and allow his soul to voice its deeper needs. Without
respecting and fulfilling these human needs, it is unrealistic for any leader to expect commitment to excellence,
loyalty, courage and genius.
Few leaders pay attention to the subtler aspects of themselves such as their personality and ego. If left
unchecked, these traits will impact adversely on their business decisions, relationships at work, home and in their
social environment. It is a common occurrence for employees to leave their jobs because of the ungracious behavior
of their bosses. Thus good companies lose good employees because “bosses” suppress rather than uplift the spirit of
employees. A true leader has to be a master of himself first before he hopes to leads others effectively.
The need for self-awareness
Self-awareness and self-realization are therefore valuable practical skills that will greatly improve the way
leaders lead others, thereby benefiting the entire organization in the long term. Companies will do well to heed
the warning signs of poor leadership and ensure that staff in leadership positions undergo appropriate training in
the subtler aspects of enlightened leadership so that these leaders can be trusted to lead their teams and the
entire organization to greater heights.
Enlightened leadership traits
The following is a list of some of the outstanding traits of an enlightened leader.
- Self-awareness and self-realization - the ability to observe and understand one’s thoughts, beliefs,
emotions and behavior and their impact on others. True leaders are realistic. They are honest with themselves
and others thereby facilitating good interpersonal communications and good relationships everywhere they
- They have no ego and welcome differing viewpoints. They are secure and do not feel threatened by anyone or
anything, thus they can focus on achieving the best results.
- They are calm and centered. Nothing destabilizes them. They exude a quiet confidence and earn respect and
admiration everywhere they go.
- They adapt to change even though it is sudden and unexpected, because they are flexible and open-minded.
They also anticipate change and prepare their organizations for the future. To them the impossible becomes
- They constantly reinvent themselves and seek new ways of doing things. They are creative and innovative and
effectively transform their organizations.
- They are visionaries, always seeing a better, grander world and passionately participate in creating
You can see from the above traits that the concept of leadership is holistic. It includes both a mindset as well
as a pattern of behaviors. It translates into a philosophy urging leaders to be a leader in everything they do.
Empowered leaders inspire greatness in everyone they come in contact with. They bring excellence into everything
they do. By empowering themselves, they empower the world.
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