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Leadership Principles of the Warrior – Series Fourteen Leadership Ascendency (Part 6)
Enlightened ascendency in leadership is extraordinarily more than what typical American culture might claim. Such appellation to a mortal human is beyond the mere conception of social consensus, or assigned mediocrity of academic speculation. Most will not understand the intricate and complex nature of that which constitutes and evolving differentiated individual. Many are looking for the reality of is such existence within the limited scope of often misguided and pretentious conjecture.
Regardless, such shortcomings do not prevent the many “experts” who claim some kind of knowledge as to what leadership might constitute. Further, some assert, based on little or deficient experience, the smugly pious perspective that they may be able to impart some claim to an understanding. Wary, suspicious and cautious one must be in response to the alleged expertise of the nonpractitioners. Across the social landscape, instigated by the vast reaches of the cyberspace, everyone has an opinion.
As the inexperienced and unwise mask the reality of their unevolved state, they will always seek to project their fragility upon others. From an infantile viewpoint, a needy arrogance of incessant quotation postings disturbs the daily trek into business and social networking of a dangerous world. Without much analysis or intense passion of deeper insightfulness, the blather of some trite cliché litters the stream of postings.
Rather than a profound treatise on the state of devolving human conditions, deteriorating cultural infrastructure, the depletion of earthly resources, or the dangers of extreme ideological perversions, multitudes relish in the mindless simplicity of some inane quote of the day. No matter the blabber of the stale platitude, or the contrived ignorance it represents, the simplistic nature says nothing, does nothing and solves nothing. It is merely a self-centered feel good satiation for internal weakness.
For a moment, on the roadside of the lifelong trek, one rightfully ponders the motivations of such shallow digression from serious events facing humanity. Add to that, what must be the focus of the self-evolutionary processes for becoming a maturely transformed leader. There are always choices. It is the enduring challenge of individuality for a person to remain above the foolishness of what might seem normal. On solid intellectual ground, a leader remains committed to an honorable code of conduct.
Additionally, to understand that one must become diligently reconciled to a distinct transformative ideation confronts the leader every day. Whether by dream or awakened presence, and two are essentially in unison in different spheres, he or she assures the selflessness of facing inner growth and maturity. What happens around him or her, on the outside, in the particular environment, is of no lasting effect to the importance of what happens on the inside. A leader comes to appreciate the notion, that he or she is dispensable. No one is indispensable as time will certain testify.
While the immaturity for the “ownership” of this or that, which surrounds every situation encounter, the entertainment will seldom cease to be amusing. As people replaced others, move into their new offices, take over a particular domain, leadership understands the tentative nature of impermanence. Transient as the human species is, in a very brief span of cosmic conception, nothing lasts forever. If you could, ask 99% of the species that have been this planet, about devolution and extinction.
Since you cannot interview dinosaurs, early human ancestors, you will have to get used to the idea of your temporal existence. From there, one should seriously consider whether the present moment has any value. As to this, a leader does not stagnate on the wayside of immaturity, or the stony barren ground of indecision, or the thorny thickets of arrogant self-indulgence. His or her way is that of non-anxious, learned, enlightened differentiation to make oneself a better version of the original template.
As to the former suggestion, the transformative progression is a singular notion. Often, a leader will note the he or she may be the only one in the room. While others may be physically present, the leader remains alone. Too many fear their existence and will not self-evolve. Within a contemporary framework, human regression continues. A careful assessment of the interactions regarding social issues and societal conditions lends credence to the notion that America suffers a “crisis” of leadership.
Additionally for instance, it might be challenging to identify examples of extraordinary leadership at various levels of state and national government. Leaders may want to ask, are there others? Where have all the leaders gone? Each day that echo grows increasingly faint. Visionary, philosophically articulate and selfless individuals seem suspiciously absent from the world scene, or the electoral processes of so-called western democracies. Leadership, as opposed to con artistry, has become endangered.
Leadership is an extraordinary challenge to become forthright in stature, strong in posture and presence, maturely outspoken, with displays of keen insight and startling wisdom. These are typically not common aspects seen across mainstream society. Leadership suffers the devolving status of moral and intellectual cowardice. Immaturity in the embrace of hype, hypocrisy and hallow conjecture, for instance, scorn the virtue of scientific validation and perseverance toward higher enlightened ascendency.
Instead, pseudoscience is easily accepted as real science. Immaturity and selfishness are quickly labeled “mental illness” to perpetuate the faulty conjectures of so-called “diseases of the mind”. Daily, social media, “news” broadcasts, and political rhetoric, especially in the aftermath of a horrific event, bombard the senses with an array of unsubstantiated opinions, alleged “experts” and specious notions that advance self-interests. Heavily laden with emotional reactivity, many flaunt the self-importance of special interests, often using poorly constructed anecdotes and foolish metaphors.
Fiction versus factual substantiation offers a greedy gluttonous array of simplistic feel good “answers” that pacify for the moment, but do little solve serious problems. As a result, in the broad spectrum of societal culture, we witness a devolving state of affairs, where divisiveness is encouraged through condescending applications of something called “political correctness”. Superstition and myriad beliefs in the supernatural subvert the rational application of critical analysis in favor of questionable reliance on superficial assumptions. In the meantime, where have the leaders gone?
In contrast to the politicians, pundits and proselytes of assorted ideologies, a very small number people represent a self-evolving kind of leadership. These are the exceptional few, who have figured out that personal independence and liberation are more important than material gain. They know it is not about the money, it is about not being phony. Too often though, one encounters the growing collection of persons who hold themselves out to be leaders, but are just “managers” or “supervisors”.
Some are competent and some are not so competent. Many have hidden agendas cloaked behind a masquerade of “doing something good for the people”. A majority is filled with a sense of their own grandiosity and self-importance, feign an expression of charm, project an aura of charisma, and for the most part attempt to manipulate and control others. For the many, growing up is too hard to do.
From one organization to another, if you look closely enough, you can see examples of a failure to self-evolve on the part of most people. Self-centered behaviors, exemplified by the immature “teenager” in the grownup body, are not uncommon. What remains uncommon is the singular individual who strives every day to be self-reliant, responsible and tireless committed to being a mature individual. Some organizational entities, like the military and law enforcement, attempt to convey the necessity of mature ascendency by advocating the “warrior” concept of personal development.
To the contrary, post-modern “experts”, whether movie stars, academic theorists, news pundits or self-seeking politicians, typically advocate the arrogance of passivity in the smugness of “political correctness”. Their pretense to tolerance is but a cover story, a hidden agenda, for their intolerance of that which disagrees with their limited and some narrow world-view, which is divisively antagonistic to logic and reason. True leadership shuns the weakness of such pathological perversity that hastens human devolution.
Overall, leadership is a matter of uncommon valor in the face of condescending adversity. It also means, no matter what the circumstances, a leader is committed to standing up for his or her subordinates. He or she risks the challenges of working hard toward ensuring opportunities and options for their own transformation. By diligently courageous perseverance, as an example to others, the leader avoids the easy temptations to evade responsibility and the essential necessity of accountability.
None the less, contemporary conditions, from corporate collusions, to political corruption, do not offer a positive outlook for exceptional leadership ascendency. To suggest the further deterioration of the workplace whether public or private, in terms of leadership capacity, recent research portrays a dismal picture for future prospects. Particularly in younger generations, post-baby boomers, fewer are opting for positions of authority and responsibility. Most are choosing lesser positions where “leadership” possibilities can be avoided. A leaderless void is getting bigger and dangerous.
Added to that, are recent studies suggesting a drop in I.Q. scores, poor academic ability by graduating seniors, a rise in superstitious beliefs with abhorrence for scientific methodology. With serious analytical thinking processes suffering the flaws of “magical thinking”, along with other interpersonal skills diminishing, extraordinary leadership capacity is becoming an “endangered species”.
As used here, “magical thinking”, sometimes referred to as “anti-thinking” or purposeful stupidity, and concerns the contrivance of specious conjecture based on emotion. Facts, if any, are used sparingly and only to the extent it meets subjective necessity. In expression with other people, such interaction exhibits cognitive bias for the sake of slanted validation. On a more simplistic basis, it is assertion without evidence or scientific validation. Throughout society and culture mystical thinking, or lazy thinking, demonstrates a growing animosity toward intellectually rational points of view.
While many pretend to be leaders, and carelessly toss around the term, most who claim such responsibility struggle to comprehend the complexity of such characterization. To begin to understand the concept of “leadership”, a person must be on a personal journey to experience and learn the essential nature of what that means. Not everyone is a candidate for becoming a leader, nor is the so-called expert particularly skilled at passing on such insight. Likewise, those who claim alleged expertise on the issue are not necessarily experienced sufficiently to offer advice or consultancy.
With that considered, the compounding effects across society are observed in a lack of growth, creative innovation and maturity among succeeding generations. Certainly, not in all situations, but enough to make progress a greater struggle. A question arises as to who will replace the few leaders remaining. At a certain point in time, everyone is expendable, replaceable and will eventually give up their particular status. As indicated earlier, one study found that one in ten people aspire to levels of higher authority. Interpretations of results indicated fewer people wanted to be “chief executives”, where such roles demand a greater capacity for dealing with critical organizational issues.
As analysis unfolds, researchers claim an organizational, or institutional “vacuum” transpires. An absence of leadership, politically, commercially, and socially, endangers democracy and threatens constitutional safeguards. To assert an inference merely about the word itself, a conception develops around imaginative depictions of a void, emptiness, space and nothingness. With what do you fill the barren landscape? Do you default to a good manager who cannot lead? On the other hand, do you select a capable supervisor who does not want to lead? One study suggested that among companies surveyed, two thirds of the employees were not interested in higher positions of leadership in any capacity. Responsibility brings the necessity of accountability.
When no one wants to lead, who makes critical decisions? If situational blankness occurs within a particular setting, then what might be the consequences? Every day, there are sufficient real-life examples. Yet, seemingly, very few are paying attention. Thinking through the possibilities, with decreasing numbers of potential future “leaders”, the outcomes are probably not encouraging. Actually, the results will be extremely dangerous and destructive as society devolves further. Such matters depend on the environmental setting, as related to business and commerce, politics and government.
While a majority may decide they have no interest in ascending to higher levels of leadership capacity, some may actually get the implications. That is, they are not leaders, they never will be, and are content to be effective followers, subordinates, or just do enough to get by. Many factors come into play, especially during every election season. Does the voter get the best possible choices for national leadership? Often is heard the sad commentary of making choices among the lesser of “two evils”. To use a non-scientific term, for which “psychopath” do you vote?
For some, that is an honest personal assessment in some respects. At the same time however, one should not accept such an admission as being completely positive in nature. That is only part of the social organizational complexity. Meanwhile, others may think they are “leadership” material. Contrived “debates” by media outlets use the word loosely and call attention to some nebulous prospect of electing a national “leader”. With the dominance, manipulation and control of two major political parties, does the republic seriously get the best possible leadership potential?
Is there a unique contrast between “politician”, as negative reference, and “statesman” or “stateswoman”? With so many “experts” offering consulting services on “leadership” training workshops, it is very easy to assume leader characteristics can be conveniently imparted. Humans are very good at personal deception and we can become very impressed with ourselves in unproductive ways. Cognitive bias pervades every living and working situation to ensure the immediate gratification of hasty conclusions.
For the authentic leader, with the right set of attributes, judicious skillfulness, exceptional experience and genuine leading capacity, the ranks are getting smaller and smaller. A major media publication from the northeast U.S. offered the argument that there is a strong correlation between “politician”, “CEO’s” and “psychopaths”.
According to some in the realm of the pseudosciences, characteristics include self-centered calculating mentality, with the fakery of empathetic charm, egocentric proclivities and selfish motivations, and other antagonistic inclinations. In the philosophies of the “soft sciences”, a kinder phrase than pseudosciences, (criminology, psychology and sociology), as opposed to the “hard sciences”, (physics, chemistry and biology), “psychopaths” do not demonstrate the true nature of authentic leadership. Instead, they are vain, self-important and will do anything to stay in power.
Credible leadership is different. Surely, there are articles, books and assorted discussion about how “psychopaths” might be effective leaders, pretend to be such, or might suggest productive possibilities. However, in the real world outside the boardroom, the classroom or city hall, things are not so simple. Realistically, would anyone seriously consider working under someone like a “serial killer”? It is easy for the armchair theorist, or non-practitioner “experts” to blather salaciously (BS) about such specious notions. However, in harsher realities, deadly consequences occur. A dangerous apocalyptic era has been entered by way of gluttonous greediness.
In regard to another survey, a major Ivy League college claims 80% of the public believes there is a serious “leadership crisis” in the U.S. Apparently, this perception is 15-20% higher than a similar survey done a decade earlier. Some would suggest there is a critical need for aspiring leaders to stake an authentic claim to a higher realm of personal behavior. Along with that, is a devotion to a public service ideal, as opposed to weak symbolic gestures of increasing involuntary servitude upon others. For instance, a true leader does not ask if one is a “team player”. On the contrary, he or she sets the example by credible, trustworthy and mature behavior, thereby inviting the team to follow.
Clever buzzwords, snazzy slogans, cute postings in social media, unimaginative storytelling and juvenile metaphors, lack of creativity, do not offer convincing evidence of leadership potential. Likewise, silly attempts to promulgate fallacies of inference for self-serving generalizations, illicit hidden agendas, unethical activities, foolish childlike biases, and mythic ideological extremes do not come anywhere close to suggesting one is a leader. Recent political, educational and financial disasters offer arguable perspectives on the malevolence of arrogant self-promotion at the expense of others. Leaders, on the other hand, could care less about self-promotion or longevity in their positions.
One measure of leadership capacity, whenever a social crisis arises, is who steps forward first to accept responsibility? Whether socio-economic, militarily, or political enterprise, who takes command and ultimately embraces accountability? Take a recent water contamination crisis in a particular region of the U.S. for example. Where evidence demonstrates prior knowledge, ineffective decision-making and inefficient problem solving, which elected officials offered their resignations? How about in the financial centers of the U.S., or around the world, following the so-called global economic meltdown, how many top executives immediately took responsibility?
While few can actually tell you what a real leader is today, many will pretend they can train someone else to be one. Conducting any activity in social networking typically reveals a cast of multitudes who claim to be “leadership consultants”. That is very fascinating once a background check reveals the alleged “expert” has little or no real experience outside their limited “worldview”. In fact, many have never held command positions, trained in the military beyond entry level, served in the criminal justice systems. Regurgitating what someone else said or wrote is not experience.
Absent a significant personal transformation toward an ascended leadership capacity, beyond materialism, self-centeredness and ideological mysticism, society is doomed toward eventual demise. What do you hear first when there is a problem? Do you hear immediate faultfinding, finger pointing and scapegoating? Alternatively, do you hear a logical well-reasoned rationale, where maturity and wisdom reign with unabashed culpability? Leadership is the “way of the warrior”, in contrast to those detractors who proselytize a more “guardianship” viewpoint that whines “political correctness”.
Ascended leadership is well differentiated and reflected in personal liberation of both thought and action beyond conventional conformity. By confidence, manner and bearing, intellectual focus, and the drive of uninhibited creative energies, the leader essentially permeates the organization. Such maturity labors diligently to rise above excuses and alibis. It does not take notice of juvenile antics that distract from the reality of self-evolution and shuns self-absorption. An ascended leadership is that which exhibits the clarity the leader expresses about his or her passion for life, and achieving the goals within an organizational framework. He or she is resolved to be unique, separated from the “herd”, yet interactive enough to ensure others follow willingly.
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