Leadership from Inner Being: Overcoming the Blind Spots
Sri Amit Ray explains the concept of leadership from inner being. He also describes how to overcome the blind spots in leadership and decision making processes.
Leadership begins with a simple human gesture and that is to inspire others, and to inspire others you must feel integrated, harmonious and whole. When you are disconnected with your Inner Being, you don’t feel solid and whole in yourself. When you are connected with your Inner Being, you feel integrated, harmonious and whole.
Here, by inner dimensions I mean inner strength, inner vision – the expanded consciousness beyond the small ego which considers him or her self separate from the rest. On the Physical body level we have emotional blockages. When you are connected with your Inner Being, you feel integrated, harmonious and whole. When you operate from your Inner Being you can overcome the mundane emotional blockages that drags you down. Through meditation, mindfulness and positive mindset we can get connection with our Inner Being. Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King are the examples of leadership from Inner Being.
Authentic Leadership and Inner Dimensions:
We can consistently inspire others when we are authentic – authentic to ourselves and authentic to others. Authenticity is the single most important principle of leadership. Authenticity comes from our deeper inner dimensions. It comes from our core values, principles, and life experiences.
To be a good leader you must be authentic to your current state of development as well as to your potential state of development. In cryptography, authenticity means messages that received by A are actually sent by B – there is no noise, error or loss of information. In leadership, authenticity means what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony. There should not be any contradiction, confusion or doubt. Today’s best leaders are authentic leaders. They are connected with their inner being, which guides them in their daily actions and enables them to earn the trust of their subordinates, peers, and shareholders.
A leadership style is a leader’s style of providing direction, implementing plans, and motivating people. It is said that, Sanskrit literature identifies ten types of leaders. They are; Visionary, Missionary, Coaching, Democratic, Autocratic, Pace-setting, Commanding, Bureaucratic, Laissez-faire, and Servant type. Depending on the situation and challenges, often, it is necessary to use more than one leadership style.
Although, the core values of leadership remain the same, these old ways of leadership may not be valid in modern digital age. Research revealed that leadership in digital age requires four characteristics; Humbleness, Adaptability, Visionary and Engaging style. In addition, agile leaders of modern age exhibits three key behaviors; Hyper-awareness, Informed Decisions and Super-Execution Speed. This fast-changing era is propelled by technology-driven transformation and it requires deep transformation and deep inner stability and this stability comes when you are connected with your Inner Being.
Leaders as Change Agent:
Leadership is not only influencing the followers, but also providing clear directions in changing circumstances. Effective leaders must be comfortable with change; they must practice and teach agility and resilience. In changing circumstances leaders must identifies their blind spots. Emotional blockages are the primary ares of blind spots in leadership. Bringing about positive change is never easy. It requires abandoning old habits and patterns and trying new approaches.
Leaders and change agents aspiring to take leadership need to connect to the source, the inner being from which they operate. Leadership is a process, an intimate expression of who we are. There are four types of changes; incremental, strategic, anticipatory and reactive. Reactive changes are forced changes as responses to external events while anticipatory changes are anticipations of future events and a more proactive approach. Communication is vital to reach an understanding of the change initiative. Authentic communication comes from the inner being.
Blind Spots and Leadership:
Normally, when one thinks of the term “blind spot” our mind immediately goes to driving a car. Blind spot is the area that we can’t see in either our rear-view or side-view mirrors. Automobile blind spot is a metaphor in leadership. In leadership, blind spot is the psychological obstruction of our views about reality. Our biased views, unchallenged assumptions create the blind spots. We often don’t want to see the ground realities. There is a blind spot in leadership theory, in the social sciences as well as in our everyday social experience. You can overcome those blind spots when your thoughts, words and actions originates from your inner being.
Reasons for Blind Spots in Leadership:
Understanding how your brain functions can help you to become better leader. The left side of the brain is responsible for controlling the right side of the body. It also performs tasks that have to do with logic, such as in science and mathematics. On the other hand, the right hemisphere coordinates the left side of the body, and performs tasks that have do with intuition, adaptability, relationships, creativity and the arts. From our childhood we are trained to be “left-brained.” Which creates us more logical, analytical, and objective. Bust as we move into leadership we need more intuition, creativity. adaptability – the “right-brained” staff. This imbalance of training between left-brain and right-brain creates the blind spots.
As we are moving more and more into the digital era, we need more and more “right-brained” staff. Albert Einstein famously observed that problems cannot be resolved by the same level of consciousness that created them. If we address our 21st-century challenges with just analytical and reactive mind-sets that mostly reflect the realities of the 19th and 20th centuries, we will increase frustration, cynicism, and anger. To remove the blind spots we need balance between left-brain and right-brain and for that we need more and more inner connections. Through meditation, mindfulness and positive mindset we can get connection with our Inner Being. Your blind spots exist just at the intersection of how you perceive yourself and how others perceive you.
Techniques to Overcome Blind Spots:
We have spent too much time to develop the left side of our brain, whenever we are put to a task, we tend to overuse the left brain and override the intuitions of the right brain. This can be useful when we need to analyze data, but it creates serious blind spots. The following three techniques are useful to overcome the blind spots of leadership:
- Things are not always same as our mind interprets. Be willing to entertain the notions that you may not have the whole picture.
- When someone see things differently, try to understand their point of view.
- Get input from multiple sources so that they can help point out possible blind spots.
Good leaders are authentic and they have a great passion for the work they do. In changing situation and stressful situation, get connected with your inner being. Through meditation, mindfulness, prayer, and positive mindset we can get connection with our Inner Being. Take a mindful breath, calm yourself down, and remind yourself of your strength, values and move forward.
Connecting with your inner being will help you to stay calm, clear and confident in every situation of life. Your balance between the left-brain and right-brain will increase your analytical as well intuitive power which will help you to eliminate the blind spots and inspire your team members to achieve your goals.
- Mindfulness Meditation for Corporate Leadership and Management by Dr. Amit Ray, Inner Light Publishers, 2017.
Editor’s Note: First published on 15th February 2018. Revised on 26th September 2019.