Given the complexity of organizational life today, along with the disorienting rate of change, it is no wonder that so many leaders and their organizations seem incapacitated in the face of their challenges. The art of leadership represents a significantly complex engagement. Team leaders interact with stakeholders and make decisions based on their conscious and unconscious assumptions, values and worldviews. These paradigms are animated by and influence a potentially staggering array of personality typologies, multiple ways of processing information and experience, and continually shifting performance states. Elective leaders magnetize an organizational field that inspires a sense of meaning and direction among their stakeholders. They become exemplars, able to integrate multiple perspectives into shared values, vision and action. When successful, the result is an aligned and adaptive organization characterized by a fully engaged workforce and outstanding performance. This leadership should be driven by higher values and be at once adaptive, pragmatic and culturally well informed. It should not only take organizations, communities and society forward in times of increased interconnectedness and rapid change but also serve as a means of personal self-transformation.
Practicing leadership in today’s work setting requires a working understanding of ourselves, of people around us, and an understanding of how our upbringing, training, expertise and knowledge influence our thinking and the practice of leadership. Leadership in the complex settings that we operate in involves engaging the heart, the head and the hands: motivation, strategy and action.
‘Exercising Enlightened Leadership’ is learning to lead across sectoral, cultural and national boundaries to advance the common good of humanity at large. It operates from the understanding and appreciation of universality, oneness of mankind, interdependence and reciprocity. It draws from the scriptural wisdom and concepts of ‘Mindfulness’ and ‘Observership’ contained in Hinduism and Buddhism.