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« Leaders Must Reinvent and Destroy | Main | Slumbering Results »

December 16, 2005

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Lisa -- my research, observations, and experience concerning leadership support your statement about, "the courage it takes to slay our internal dragons." In my own book about leadership, I wrote of how we do not develop our capacity to lead if we shy away from slaying our internal dragons, therefore failing to complete the hero's journey that Joseph Cambell described. That journey alone enables us to, in Campbell's words, "...battle past personal and local historical limitations...to teach the lessons learned..." If we do not complete the journey, we then remain emotionally and spiritually immature and unable to inspire others (lead) except by resorting to ego and fear-based "leadership" machinations and "spin". Completion of that inner journey requires, as you point out, courage.

I believe that what you are speaking of above is the single most important cause of a lack of leadership in our society today. It is why so many of those to whom we look for leadership fail us.

Dick - Thanks for your additional comments. Funny, as an OD consultant, I have read about and know about Campbell's work but I have not used it with clients because I worry they will find it too touchy feely. Perhaps I just need to get over this because there is a lot of value in the model. Maybe I will do a post on this to play with my own interpretation and articulation of the model.

Yes, a lack of courage to lead is what I see most. Good News: It is easy to correct. Bad News: It is only easy if the person sees what needs to be corrected and chooses to correct it.

Lisa - Just one item I'd like to add to your list, because it represents everyday courage as well as the spectacular kind. It's the willingness to do what you think is necessary, even when you don't want to. Just doing that regularly will transform your life. Self-discipline isn't a fashionable virtue, but that doesn't mean it no longer works. It also applies to everyone; but especially to leaders, whose duty it is to lead (else why are they there?).

Adrian: Yes, doing what we don't feel like doing is critical, although it really should not be. This should not be an issue. To me, the fact that this IS an issue tells me our selection, promotion, role clarity and expectations, and reinforcement is off. Great leaders do what others won't or don't.

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