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Leadership, Tribal Spiritual Wisdom, And The Leadership Talk

PERMISSION TO REPUBLISH: This article may be republished in newsletters and on web sites provided attribution is provided to the author, and it appears with the included copyright, resource box and live web site link. Email notice of intent to publish is appreciated but not required: mail to: brent@actionleadership.com Word count: 814 You can boost your leadership skills and hence your career by understanding this one thing that most leaders miss: great leadership incorporates a spiritual dimension. This spiritual dimension has been a part of leadership since time in memorial; but in today's global economy, it is undergoing an historic, universal transformation. It's a transformation that speaks directly to your individual leadership and career challenges. However, when we talk about the spiritual in leadership, we must, first and foremost, talk about results -- the results leaders achieve.

Concrete results. Hard, measured results. Plus, we must talk about getting more of them, getting them faster, and getting "more, faster" continually. Otherwise, there is no sense in delving into the spiritual aspect of leadership. Results are the stuff that leaders are made of.

If they're not getting results, they won't be leaders for long. Results come in countless forms and functions. But one thing they all share: they are material consequences of actions. You can't see spirit, you can't hear it, you can't smell it, you can't taste it, you can't feel it; however, if you ignore the non-material that the spiritual encompasses, you'll give short shrift to your leadership. Just as the root word for spirit comes from Latin "to breathe" so spiritual dimensions of leadership are its very life-breath; for through it, the greatest results are achieved. Spirit has been applied to many different things in different fields: to stealth bombers, corporations, rock bands, comic book characters, etc. In religion, spirit is the concept of an innate essence of a being. All religions embrace spirit in many ways. But when applied to leadership, spirit is differently manifested than with organized religions. The spiritual aspect of leadership I'm talking about must be exerted universally in the global market place, across cultures, nations, ethnic groups, etc.

No religion has a corner on the spirit of leadership. Fortunately, there is a universal ground for the kind of spirit needed in today's leadership: the spiritual wisdom of tribal cultures. Anthropologists have come to identify common features in the diversity of tribal cultures around the world. First, they are earth-based. The relationship between the earth and the people is one of mystical interdependence. Second, the powers of nature, the acts of daily life, birth death, nature and the cosmos are all invested with deep meaning through ritual and dance. Third, most tribal cultures view all individual things that make up our universe -- rocks, stars, mountains, rivers, people, animals, fish, etc. -- as interdependent. This interdependence is not just a physical dynamic. Yes, we live on the same earth, breath the same air, and are all mortal.

But tribal cultures understand it as a spiritual dynamic as well. Unlike the concept of human souls, which are believed to be eternal and preexisting, one's spirit according to tribal wisdom develops and grows as an integral aspect of a person living interdependently with the community and its environment. Today, these interdependent features of tribal spiritual wisdom can be applied with dramatic consequences to global leadership. Just as tribe members saw themselves as interdependent with their tribe and their spiritual deities and dictums, so today's leaders in order to be truly successful on a global stage must see themselves in similar interdependent terms. However, the difference today is that interdependence is not with a tribe but with people the world over and with the world environment. That's a profound, spiritual leadership lesson, hard but necessary to actualize, from which great leadership results flow. How do we actualize this spiritual imperative? Enter the Leadership Talk. I have been teaching the Leadership Talk to leaders of all ranks and functions worldwide for nearly a quarter of a century. It works on the premise that great results happen primarily when leaders establish a deep, human, emotional connection with people. When I first began developing and teaching it, I saw it as a powerful results generator.

It is that. In fact, the Leadership Talk is the most powerful leadership results generator of all. But I had not really understood why until recently. Now, I see each one of those descriptors, "deep, human, emotional", which grew organically out of my having to work with leaders challenged to get great results, are fundamentally spiritual in nature. That's because they are predicated on the spiritual wisdom of interdependence. (You can find out more about the Leadership Talk on my website.) A key reason the Leadership Talk has helped leaders get great, material results for nearly 25 years is its driving methodologies are fundamentally spiritual. Globalization is forcing broad and deep changes in human relationships as organizations are being challenged to achieve greater results than ever before. When you understand that the best results come from practical processes bolstered with spiritual dynamics connected to tribal wisdom, you'll have an opportunity to achieve an unmatched competitive advantage in the world marketplace.


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