Erik Presley (USA)

Personal Leadership

by Erik Presley | July 3, 2012 | Erik Presley (USA) 0 Comments

The truth about Leadership

If I were to ask you with a show of hands how many of you have read, heard or talked about leadership I’m sure I’d see almost 100% of the hands go up. We are inundated with the idea that we should invest part of our life growing in the arena of leadership or that we should pursue the role of leadership. I myself have spent a lifetime pursuing this topic in order to make it one that is more relevant to all peoples.

Dr. Rick Lytle

Dr. Rick Lytle

There are resources in the market that are worth spending time acquiring or books worth reading. In fact, during one of our ELI 360 Guidance session, 9.8 the one on how understanding your blueprint will help you discover your vocation we introduce high school students to Dr. Lytle (@acuricklyle) who has his doctoral studies based on the science of servant leadership. He has authored a great book worth getting entitled “Abandon the Ordinary, Building a Distinctive Leadership Brand”. Additionally, I’m sure many of you have heard of John Maxwell who has invested much of his professional career on training and teaching principles of leadership.

These are just a few examples of the immense library of material to help one grow in leadership. One of this topic’s axioms is that in order to have leadership there must be a following. This idea certainly has a merit of truth, but I want you to grasp how that axiom is not always valid. In our ELI 360 Guidence program we teach on why this statement is true – that leadership does not always have a following!

Leadership has to do with making things better, improving the greater good. That means there may or may not be people around an individual who is leading in an act to initiate improvement initiatives. Leadership is about an individual living a life of integrity, they are not “double minded” as we say in the program. When you think about the intentions of a person leading are they doing the activities with the intent to improve the lives of those around them or society at large? That is leadership. There could be a following but the principle of leadership is that a person is living congruent with their blueprint – an integritus life. The intentions are not duplistic; “I give so I get.”

Leadership is not about how many follow you on Twitter or the number of friends on Facebook, neither is it about position or influence solely. You may be standing out there alone but you recognize that the intentionality of Creator God was to make things right or to participate in the restoring of good in people, in nature, in self. Deep seated in every person is a passion for a greater purpose. Those who walk congruent to that deep seated passion and blueprint, your make-up, will I believe live out the essence of leadership.

Living a life that is congruent to one’s blueprint or integritous with no false motive whereby they make an arena of life better than they entered it.

In talking about leadership we could speak of positional leadership. There are presidents, there are managers, there are prime ministers, there are teachers and superintendents. Many like John Maxwell (@JohnCMaxwell) speak about positional leadership, yet they teach most about the idea that everyone is a leader at every job position, that we were all made to be leaders. As one whose pursued this social science, I believe there is a higher call or evidence that leadership is even more than leading by service or gaining a following or helping others achieve what they hope to gain in life. All these are components or outcomes of leadership.

iStock_000018994531SmallI believe because of our make-up, because Creator God had an intent for us to develop, to co-create with Him we actually have a leading or we are to carry a leading in a specific arena whether in the arts, medicine, business or education. All individuals in a society should be searching out this reality of leadership or develop this mindset or worldview of leadership. It’s not about gaining good character, that’s a component. It’s not about attracting greater following on twitter because of subject matter expertise. It’s not about gaining the highest number of friends on Facebook or any other social media. That’s so shallow an understanding on what leadership is all about.

OK, this may be a little philosophical or too foreign a concept. Let’s talk about leadership in light of a integrity. If we think of integrity we might consider the word as it relates to the integrity of a ship. If a ship is sound, the ship is integritus because there is no leak. However, if there is a hole then it sinks and it is not integrous. The famous ship the Titanic was believed to be the most integritous ship because of how the hull was engineered. Yet when the ship hit an iceberg and had a hole punch through the steel it sank. The ship faulted in its ability to float to carry out its designed purpose.

In a person, one who has perfect integrity, they establish what integrity looks like. The same can be true about the perfect pianist or perfect high-wire trapeze artist. Everyone around that person may or may not be a follower, however, that person is establishing what is in an arena most excellent, they are establishing what is the norm. In essence they are leading. For all those who can and will observe this person this individual will establish what we’ll call

“the most excellent way”

in the arena they live and work.

Let me talk about this in context of many who lived out a life that was integritous to their blueprint. Mahatma Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr., Albert Einstein, Henry Ford, Michael Jordan, Aung San Suu Kyi, Nelson Mandela, Michelangelo, William Wallace, Sam Walton, William Wilberforce, Tiger Woods, Muhammad Yunnes, Li Len Ying are a few who lived or are living integritous to their blueprint. I’m confident you could add many to the list.

Why is this so relevant to you? Are we talking about career? Are we talking about a strategy for climbing a mountain of society that is congruent to your blueprint? Some of you may be thinking at this point this is a great topic and worth my attention, while others of you are confident you will not play a role of leadership in life especially not one like all those “famous” people just mentioned.

Truth is that every person was made uniquely. Just like our DNA or the very prints of our finger are not alike we are all unique. We were all made for a unique purpose. As we discover our personal blueprint and begin to live it out or to build from its plan we will live an integritous life which will inturn become leadership in a sphere or an arena just as all those famous individuals we listed from history or watch on TV. Our scope of leadership will also be just as unique as the prints on our fingers.

Society can influence you to believe you have to do things that are not in you to do. Because of peer pressure you could be influenced to go after positional leadership in the business world like becoming a manager or executive. However, you would not be walking out personhood integrity if you were not made for the business world.

Let’s say your best fit is the career cluster of health services yet you pursue a finance degree to become an investment broker like a family member. You would not be walking out integrity to your blueprint and therefore have a significant chance of failure. You would not be experiencing leadership because you do not have the components to function at the levels of convergence in business.

Convergence occurs when you are living out your passion within your purpose.

When you pursue what you ought to pursue where you are most congruent to your blueprint you will end up having a natural following. Leadership is about discovering who you are so that you can establish that which others are to embody in a specific professional or life sphere.

IMG_3417Let’s look at leadership from another angle. For young children why do we say a famous football athlete is someone they want to follow? It’s because in that arena the athlete is establishing what is perfection or the highest excellence. It creates in children with a similar passion the drive to go after perfection in that sport. Society can and does push individuals to aspire fame as a football player because of money or looks or material gain but none of these things are most likely congruent to that person’s nature or character. That individual may gain all those things and then society says those are the things to go after. It’s like a false positive in a scientific study. Just because the athlete has money, good looks or large material gain they are not leaders. They are leaders because they’ve pursued a congruent life.

Everyone becomes a leader when they climb the mountain or work in the career cluster that is congruent with who they are as an individual. In a minute I’ll explain why that is. For the person that does not climb a mountain that is congruent with their blueprint they will find in time that their ability to traverse a difficult cliff or scale over a challenging ascent will be impeded and they will have to settle for lower elevations of the mountain.

You see this reality played out in different arenas like the business person who climbs the career ladder for a time by good skills and then by manipulation and corruption. This individual will end up in prison. We can always create a following. Or, we can exude a passion that is not genuine and over time those with a similar passion will begin to follow. But just like the fraudulent business person ends up in jail this false individual will end up in social jail so to speak. This is because they cannot sustain a false or incongruent life. We call this being double minded.

Individuals who stay the course who live out a congruent life will be able to push through challenging times to scale the mountain. Steve Jobs discussed this idea in n interview a few years ago. In other words, those who understand their blueprint will have the makeup to overcome obstacles in their climb and by living out their passion within their purpose will be leading. Again, their leading will not be about the size of the following but the influence they are able to exhort in a sphere.

Leadership is born in a place of solitude when there are no outside influences dictating who the person should be. A person who aspires to go after a following or a position of influence or control they are after the second level effect of the primary reality of leadership and that is living a life that is congruent with a person’s blueprint.

Again it’s worth saying true leadership is not about following. In my home I have a picture of a little Honduran boy maybe at age 6 wearing nothing but athletic shorts, in front of him is a large mountain of earth with a deep blue sky in the background. You can’t tell what he’s doing or thinking with his back to the camera. No one else is around and there are no elements of the civilized world like buildings or artifacts. While there is nothing about his world that is wrong it is in that place of solitude one will begin to establish their personal leading, before anyone takes note.

Leadership is a part of who you are and the greatest impact you can have is when you live from a congruent or integrous life. Each person should pursue this blueprint discovery process with great diligence so that not only will you experience a life that is well lived but you will lead others to embrace in a sphere the “most excellent way.” When you live out your blueprint you will find you are able to change the world around you. You will change the dynamics of communication, the atmosphere of emotions, the structures of policy making, the equity of life, the safety of all, the esthetic beauty of the world, you will lead and a following will take place because the shifts or evolutions or revolutions will be born out of as perfect as possible an aspect of life – it is called your true blueprint.

Do not be ambitous to go after a life, a career or calling that is incongruent to who you are. You will end up bankrupt whether socially, professionally or psychologically. Most importantly you will never experience this aspect we call – leadership.

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