Thursday, October 29, 2009

Four Types of Leadership by by Puran Bair

I found this on the internet today.  It so resonated with me that I felt compelled to share the whole piece.  I hope it stirs the kind of leader in you that the world needs, today:

There is a conception of a leader as a person who sees what others don't see, who exposes a new paradigm to answer questions that can't even be expressed in the old mind-set. One who understands the profound truths that clarify and simplify reality and can communicate these liberating visions to others through dialogue and presence.
This view is one-fourth of leadership, but since those who hold it are excellent communicators, it gets considerably more press than the three other types of equally-valid leadership.
There is also leadership in a situation that everyone already understands but which few can face. On the battlefield, there is the leader who raises his head and charges into the oncoming fire to blaze a path for others to follow, inspiring those who are frozen in fear and unable to do what they know they must. After an airplane crash in the Potomac river, a man jumped into the freezing water to swim out to passengers and tow them back to shore. They were uninjured but too shocked to swim half the distance he swam. There is the woman who galvanizes a community to action against the pollution they all know about but have passively accepted. This leadership is also evident in the businesswoman who inspires the company to a higher standard of quality: it's the courage to do what's hard but known, instead of the insight to do what's simple but unknown.
There is another kind of leadership that knits together a group of people who could not get along with each other without the leader's harmonizing influence. This is not a hierarchical leadership that explains a theory to the ignorant masses or shows extraordinary courage in a crisis. This is a leader who might be invisible to the group, until he or she leaves, whereupon the group falls into divergence. This leader operates like the heart in the body: the head gets all the credit, but the heart establishes the heart-rate on its own from polling the organs and muscles directly, independent of the brain.
The last kind of leader is one who is very conscious of leadership, accepting the burden of it not for any glory or fame, but simply because they must; it is their responsibility. A leader of this type is dependable; he will carry you across the river on his back; he will hold you safe so that you do not drown. She will take your thorny faults and hide them under her own coat, even through they scratch her skin, until they are eventually rubbed smooth. This leader's path is not detachment; it is attachment; it is duty, and he will not fail you.
The path to developing leadership is to first recognize which kind of leader you are, and then perfect it. Next, stretch to develop a neighboring style of leadership, integrating it with your own.
In this development, some concepts are useful, but most important is the practice of meditation. The meditation that develops the power of the leader is not regarding the world as impermanent from a detached observance. It is a meditation of love, in which one identifies with all that is. We do not aspire to experience no thought; we aspire to experience all emotion. One does not find one's self by elimination, but by inclusion. Our chief problem is a narrow self-concept; the truth about ourselves is that we are infinite, eternal and perfect. To become fulfilled, which is our purpose in life, we must incorporate the eagle, the lion, the rabbit and the snake -- that's how we overcome ignorance, anger, greed and jealousy. We submit the mind and ego to the service of the heart, with love.
Our practice starts simply: put your hand on your heart, then you will speak differently. Now breathe through your heart, in time to your heartbeat. Use your breath to exchange love with the world. In a few more steps, you'll be sending out a powerful magnetic pulse that is literally broadcasting peace into the world. This is active, Heart Rhythm Meditation, and it's more effective at handling stress than any other kind of meditation. It's also more beneficial for the physical heart, and we can prove it medically. Most importantly, it brings a person into a closer connection with and more profound understanding of others. It develops creativity, not just clarity. It powers responsibility and the courage to take action, not just compassion. This is the meditation of our time. This will shift our culture from the mind to the heart.

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