A Change In Perspective

04.01.13 | Posted in UnCommon Leadership

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The foundation for the UnCommon Leadership model is that it is a personal and personalized approach to leadership. It asks the leader to focus on themselves, not in an ego-centric manner, so they can be the best version of themselves they were put on earth to be. And, while mastering themselves, they learn how to personally lead others in the manner that drives deep, intrinsic motivations so that the people they are entrusted to lead find their best version of themselves too. As I’ve described in another blog, this model is the result of studying many theories on leadership and management. One of the key building blocks for the model is the concept of servant leadership.

I bring this up because recently, while coaching in the High Performance Leadership (HPL) program, the question was posed by a several of the executives as to whether we should have lofty goals such as becoming a CEO of a company. The leaders had already achieved great things in their career, but admitted they had never set out to attain the highest level within their organizations. Each had taken the approach that when given a chance to lead, they just did the very best they knew how to do, focused on the people they were leading, and great things had happened along the way. They just weren’t comfortable with setting the goal of becoming a CEO. And, I don’t think they need to be. I believe they, without knowing it, have been leading, at some level, using the UnCommon Leadership model. I can say that because after spending six days with them I truly believe their motivations came from humility of accepting the responsibility that came with each job of more significance.

The change of perspective on leadership now has a name and a face that is garnering global attention. I’m talking about the new Pope Francis 1. This Pope is turning the traditionalists on their heads with his disdain for the glamour and royalty of the office and by showing deep humility and modeling of servant leadership.

Pat Lencioni, a great thought leader on leadership and a prolific author writes a blog called Pat’s Point of View (POV). He had this to say last week about Pope Francis:  it was reported that Pope Francis, then Cardinal Bergoglio, had stated before the Conclave started that he didn’t want to be elected Pope. His predecessor, Benedict XVI, made the same comment prior to his election in 2005, as have others. But one member of the media I saw, when told about Pope Francis’ comment, rolled his eyes and declared, “Well, he may have said it, but I’m not sure I believe it. I mean, can you imagine being the executive vice president of a company for many years and then saying that you didn’t want to be CEO?”

While being the Pope is certainly different from being a CEO or political leader – something that can be difficult for the media to completely understand – there is a lesson to be learned from the reporter’s comment. He was suggesting, or perhaps assuming, that leadership is something that comes about because of personal ambition and individual achievement, rather than humble service and acceptance of responsibility. I think it’s fair to say that this is how many, if not most, people see leadership.

Frankly, I think the world would be a better place if more of its leaders accepted responsibility reluctantly and humbly, rather than clamoring for it and for the accolades that come with it. This would go a long way toward shifting the emphasis of leadership away from leaders themselves and toward the people they serve.

Pat has succinctly nailed down the UnCommon Leadership perspective for us, don’t you agree? The executives in the HPL program certainly are on the right track as well. It’s not about the title. It’s about service to others. I’ve said this before, and it bears repeating – there is no greater responsibility that comes from having the lives of others in your care.  Watch Pope Francis. You’ll see servant leadership in action. For me, it’s refreshing and inspiring. How about you?

Onward & Upward!

Ed Chaffin

 

Resource:

Pat Lencioni’s POV -http://www.tablegroup.com/pat/povs/pov/?id=50

 

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