Beyond Leadership – the work inside

Leaders could be people who make boldest dreams come true. But where are the leaders who work on making the dreams of John Lennon in his song „Imagine“ come true?

Dreaming without doing keeps us where we are. In a world where those who speak the language of power are in control. Or seem to be so.

People who are getting extra-ordinary things done, are obliged to communicate with those in power and to know the rules of power games. Without that, they are not taken seriously.

To be successful or simply to survive, we learnt that we need to be ever better, stronger, faster, smarter, more powerful and fitter. And by striving for all that we also believe we’ll stay healthy. Healthy and not healthier. As for health any comparison is futile. A shy reminder of nature that there could be a world without comparison.

As long as we are healthy we take health for granted. Except in some reflective moments when gratefulness is with us. But most of the time we forget how precious it is. Only when we become seriously ill, we realize its true and unique value. Especially when getting well again becomes quite demanding.

As long as we are healthy, we tend to underestimate the necessary effort to stay well. All our tasks keep us from paying special attention to staying healthy: physically, mentally and spiritually. This neglect of our own health very often runs parallel with the neglect to pay attention to the health of our relationships, the health of our areas of responsibility and our communities.

Great leaders are focused on the outside. Not themselves. This is true even for narcisstic leaders. They all are gifted in leading others to extraordinary achievements. Bringing demanding projects to a sussessful end. Getting the approval of vast majorities and sometimes even gaining an admiring entry into the history books.

We praise true leaders for their audacity, their bravery, their visionary power, their integrity, their being a role model and their capacity to inspire and encourage us. But is this praise also accompanied with our love to them? Strange question maybe. Love alone seems not sufficient to make leaders effective. More often than not, leaders need to rely on respect if not outright fear.

No wonder that leaders who are still ready to learn and develop themselves concentrate consciously or sub-conscously on „outside things“: how could I be more convincing, what do I have to do to be credible and trustworthy, how to go about to be truly influential, how to exert my power carefully and responsibly?

If you are a leader who finds time to ask such questions, you probably belong to a minority of men and women who even find time to focus on these. Rather than running constantly from meeting to meeting, or worse from crisis to crisis. Rather than being constantly reachable on your handy, even in your „free“ time. For all those who are completely „eaten up“ by their almost inhumanly dense agendas, all that I am going to propose here is probably too far away as to have even the remotest chance to be taken into consideration.

C. G. Jung once said: „Those who look outside – dream. Those who look inside – are woken up.“ So, who are the real dreamers and who are those who make the good dreams come true?

Now a few words as to power: Power is important. Without power there would have been no survival. We need constantly power, physical, mental, even spiritual. It needs power to win debates, fights, battles and in its extremest physical form to win wars. We need brain power for research and innovation, for convincing and winning other people. We need power to reach extraordinary and ordinary goals. No wonder the language we speak most often is the language of power. Yet in almost all power disputes there is a winner or winners and a loser or losers. Only in a minority of cases, there is neither a winner nor a loser, and even one party can feel as a winner and a loser.

If we only know this language, we might become unable to speak the language of love. Which is needed to express love. But more than that, it is probably needed for those problems that can only be solved by love. Using the language of love. It is needed for making peace, for truly working co-operatively together, for finding win-win solutions, for finding solutions to problems that seem unsolvable, especially when approaching them with the language of power. All those problems that mankind today shys away from. Therefore my urgent call to all the leaders of the world: start looking inside. Ask every once in a while, maybe even as a daily exercise: When did I make use of the language of love. And if you find out that it did not occur to you: Listen to my call: Let’s learn the language of love.

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