Tag Archives: Emotional Intelligence

How Bad People Become Leaders

In response to my last blog, “Scientists and Sages Can Agree on This,” Mike Lehr of Omega Z Advisors posed a question: “It seems many leadership models characterize leadership as a universal good . . [but] it’s hard to give much credence to any model that can’t explain how ‘bad people’ become leaders. What thoughts do you have on this?”

I answered back: “I love a challenge, Mike. I’ll post my thoughts by Monday, and tweet you the link. Many thanks for asking.”

And it is a very challenging question. The subject is vastly complex. Making matters worse, the English language is so compromised that it’s difficult to answer simply and clearly.

For one thing, Mike, you’re not alone in looking for answers to this question. Earlier on LinkedIn, I was following a thread in the Leadership Think Tank discussion group. Five months ago Milan Grković, who heads the MUI Centar in Croatia, posed the question, “Why We Have So Many Bad Leaders?” At last count, there have been 1529 comments.

Mike’s question is framed in terms of “bad people.” Milan calls them “bad leaders.” It’s an important distinction. Both are valid. There are good (meaning ethical, responsible, compassionate) people who function poorly in leadership roles, and vice versa – not-so-good people who in measurable ways function effectively as leaders.

Unfortunately, good people who are also effective leaders are rare, while bad people who function terribly in leadership roles are all too common.

From childhood on, authoritarian educators brainwash the masses with a “respect” for authority figures, a word experienced somewhere along a continuum between “high regard” and “terror.” So most of us assume we’re obliged to comply without question.

We also been taught to expect that non-conformance has life-threatening consequences. (The tyranny of “experts” is a related but different subject for a future blog.)

Many individuals are placed in leadership roles. Very few have the combined aptitude and practical experience to actually lead. On the other side of the coin, some individuals are highly influential even without an organizational title. Their outstanding ideas and/or example suffice. Einstein is an excellent example.

Further, the description of a “bad” leader ranges from “well-intentioned but ineffective” to “incompetent, toxic and destructive.” Some people placed in leadership roles are hapless puppets.

On the other extreme, some crave power for its own sake, take pleasure in dominating others cruelly, and are quite intentionally evil. (Although business consultants, understandably, hesitate to use the word, the existence of evil is an important, unavoidable subject. A functional definition is given below.)

Different qualifications are required to lead in different situations. We each fill leadership roles at some times and in some areas of our lives. So the definition of an effective leader also changes on a sliding scale.

On the largest scale of magnitude, a universal leader is an educator in the pristine meaning term: one who leads from darkness to light. Christ was the ultimate leader. He instructed students to call him Rabbi, which means teacher.

All of this, however, begs Mike original question of how (meaning the process by which) bad people become leaders. Outside of sheer brute force, HOW are unethical, inhumane, and/or incompetent people selected to fill leadership roles?

I addressed part of this question in an earlier blog on the leadership selection process. (See Democracy Is a Myth.) My doctoral research study proved with 99 percent statistically significant results that an informal pre-selection process precedes the formal one.

Innovative, creative candidates are screened out by current power holders with a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. No one is identified, groomed or nominated who doesn’t mirror the values or otherwise suit the agendas of existing (sometimes not-so-good) administrators.

For another perspective, refer back to the Positive Paradigm Wheel model. The previous blog, Sages and Scientists Can Agree on This pictured this holistic, integrated reality map. According to this model, a good leader is one who is not only self-aware on all levels, but is able to link, balance and prioritize them.

Both books on the Positive Paradigm, however, include sections that describe the extraordinary amount of pain, suffering and loss that results from basing decisions and actions on incomplete, incorrect paradigms.

Here, two illustrations must suffice. First is a picture of the prevailing, exclusively materialistic empirical science paradigm. The center is ruled out. Intuition is denied. Emotions and energy aren’t accounted for. All that matters are concrete tangibles and physical image. A leader’s motives and intentions are known only when it’s too late – after the selection has been made and the (sometimes regrettable) results come in.

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MaterialistAthest

A “scientific” leadership selection process takes into account only that which is measurable, for example academic IQ. Intangibles like the presence or absence of cultivated Emotional Intelligence (street smarts) fly under the radar, as do ethical intelligence, creativity and a capacity for visionary insight.

When selectors judge only by appearances, it’s easy to deceive them. As Lincoln said, “You can fool all of the people some of some of the time, and some of the people all of the time.” Those are pretty good odds for an ambitious con artist.

In a second variation, all levels of the Wheel are operational, but they operate intermittently and out of synch, each disassociated from the others. The smallest circle which represents Conscience floats outside, detached from daily experience.

Stress

On one side of the continuum, this is the picture of a hypocrite, for example a person who operates on one standard with close family, but on another with strangers or at work. It represents someone who presents one image to the public, but acts quite differently when others aren’t looking.

Hitler is a familiar example on the far opposite extreme. This is the picture of evil, meaning anti-life: intentionally shattering and fragmenting the creative pattern. In Positive Paradigm context, the intentions and actions of any person (or group) that destroys its own and/or threatens to annihilate enemy groups, devoid of respect for the inherent sanctity of life, are defined as evil.

The empirical science paradigm has no language or structure for recognizing such malfunctions. In contrast, the Positive Paradigm is designed to diagnose inner dynamics. Use it to identify bad people and prevent them from being given leadership roles.

Again, my thanks to Mike Lehr for this opportunity to respond. Hope this helps.

All best!

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Scientists & Sages Can Agree on This

Today’s effort started with a most excellent blog tweeted out by Mike Lehr of Omega Z Advisors: “The essence of #leadership in a single word blog.omegazadvisors.com/?p=2696.

It looked interesting, so I clicked on the link.

Yup. The major puzzle pieces are there. Vision. Strategy. Idea. Inspiration. Speaking directly to my subject, he states, “Leadership is about change.”

So I tweeted back, “I totally agree about inspiration and change, Mike. But then, how do we train such leaders?? I have a few suggestions. All best.”

Within a day, Mike tweeted back,“Post them somewhere, Pat . . .”

So here’s my short version of how to train leaders who are equally inspired and effective — a picture worth a thousand words.

The BEST LEADERS ARE SELF-AWARE

061614 Wheel

BE AWARE of

What You’re Doing and Why

The Life Wheel, the Positive Paradigm of Change, is a modern day descendant of the time-tested Book of Change that leaders have consulted for over eight-thousand years.

It places the three variables of Einstein’s famous formula, e = mc2 mass, energy and light, on increasingly deeper levels within the Wheel. The result is the Unified Theory which Einstein already had, though, sadly, lacking yoga background, didn’t recognise. This wheels-within-wheels model is equally compatible with modern physics, yoga philosophy and the world’s great religions. It is a reality map upon which scientists and sages can agree.

  • The intuition Mike describes fits within the WHY level of the Wheel. This innermost level of Light is associated with spiritual guidance and flashes of genius. Unless integrated with the ability to strategize and implement, however, vision and insights fail to manifest as practical results.
  • Emotions (including empathy) and strategy belong to the middle HOW level. The Energy layer is associated with street smarts and Emotional Intelligence. Magnetism and charisma emanate from this level, but unfortunately aren’t always integrated with integrity, intelligence and practical organizational skills.
  • Purpose and outcomes belong to the surface WHAT level associated with tangible, measurable results. The Mass layer is the realm of quantifiable IQ as well as biological family and social/political connections. Persona (mask) and personality are surface appearances. They don’t necessarily reflect actual motives and feelings. (This is why merely imitating the words and actions of great leaders doesn’t have the same affect).

The three outer levels are interrelated and interdependent. Each is necessary but not sufficient. Their existence depends on the unchanging hub of the Life Wheel. The true SELF — also called Conscience, the Tao or God — holds the spokes together as events on the Wheel’s surface rim change continuously. Creation in the form of primal consciousness emanates from and returns to this silent alpha-omega center.

Inspired leaders are Self-aware. Positive leaders link inner vision with compassion to generate practical results. They serve as organizational catalysts, bringing out the best in others by example. Like stringed instruments, we resonate when true leaders strike a universal chord, set in motion by a deeper music.

This paradigm of completion is “positive” because all the levels of experience are included and correctly prioritized. None are excluded. None are out of place. The levels are harmoniously linked in an infinite, two-way continuum of creative balance. (This is the holistic picture of unity or “yoga.”) Mindful of Einstein’s warning that problems cannot be solved at the same level they are created, it pictures the deeper levels where we can first get unstuck, and then travel deeper to where the genuine solutions we dearly need and seek can be found.

Prophetically, Einstein warned about the dangers of inverted priorities: “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” Today, more than ever, the world urgently needs leaders who remember their gifts and use reason correctly.

An important first step in training better leaders is to convince educators/executives/politicians and their students/employees/supporters of the grave dangers inherent in prevailing, incomplete and inaccurate paradigms. Then, it requires rousing sufficient courage to make a paradigm shift.

What could be more powerful motivation than the pending threat to human survival?! For today’s un-in-formed leaders are undeniably steering planet Earth towards a catastrophic disaster that dwarfs the Titanic’s collision. Einstein wasn’t exaggerating when he observed, “We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.”

Decision-makers and leaders in every walk of life can make themselves whole by using the method outlined in The Positive Paradigm Handbook. In addition, it gives a practical standard for assessing leadership potentials, training better leaders, and choosing which ones to follow.

All best!

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What’s Most Important – Nature, Nurture, OR . . . ?

The other day, I encountered Ivan Goldberg on LinkedIn. A Chair at Vistage International, his formal title is Executive Mentor and Coach. But it’s his personal handle I find irresistible. He describes himself as an “Enthusiastic Agent for Change, Wise Old Sage, Great Listener, and Author of ‘Leading to Success.’”

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I’m an author of books on change based on the book ancient sages have depended upon for eight thousand years and counting. So I had a hunch that I’d found a kindred soul. I sent an email to find out.

When he accepted my invite, I wrote back: “Thanks for the connection, Ivan– Your blogs look terrific. Maybe you’d like mine as well. Here’s one that’s just been retweeted. Thanks for your great work. All best, Pat West”

Sure enough, he answered me, “Hi Pat. Many thanks for the link. Your blog is certainly more academic (that is a compliment BTW) than mine and is very thought provoking. Hope that you like today’s post on Leadership. Best regards, Ivan”

Being an academic (though also much more), I did my homework. On his website, Ivan asks “Are Leaders Born or Made?” He also answers the question: “It is Nature, Nurture and Much More!”

One good blog deserves another. So I answered back:

Hi Ivan. Yes, I liked the Nature, Nurture AND More blog. I also liked the ones on motivating and daring to be different. Seems to me that you do in fact have the soul of a sage, and know a thing or two about change. The Chinese don’t have a monopoly on wisdom after all. Now I’m motivated to write you an answering blog on the subject of nature, nurture, and More. I’ll alert you come mid-week, if you like. All best, Pat”

What follows is my response to Ivan’s blog. He concludes, “Is it a matter of nature or nurture?  It is both.  Leaders need to be aware of their inborn abilities and how they can develop them, which is, essentially, an auto-didactic exercise.”

What? “Auto-didactic?!” I can’t resist a friendly tease here. Ivan, who doesn’t really have much use for academics, uses a pretty fancy word that I (the presumed academician) had to look up. Turns out, it means self-analysis. As a noun, it means self-taught.

Agreed. Self-responsible learning and experience are essential. Potential is necessary but not sufficient. However, the wisdom of sages (not the same as academic theories) can make a useful difference. I’ll give one example here using the Positive Paradigm Wheel of Change which is true to the original, the I Ching. This picture talks to the right brain to balance the left-brain discussion which follows.

It places the relationship of nature, nurture and “much more” in prioritized context.

NatureNurtureWheel

For those as yet unfamiliar with the Unified Theory of Einstein’s heart’s desire, let me explain briefly. The model of concentric wheels-within-wheels is equally compatible with modern atomic science, the world’s great religions, and yoga philosophy.

The surface level that corresponds with MASS includes everything tangible and measurable. It’s the realm of empirical science. That would be “nurture.”

The middle ENERGY level corresponds not only with electricity, but with subtle but measurable energies that yogis call “chi” or “prana.” It’s the level associated with DNA, emotions and “gut” feelings. As detailed below, that’s the level of “nature.”

The innermost level of LIGHT is associated with intangibles. That’s the “. . . and Much MORE.”

On the surface, intelligence is measured by IQ. It’s also the realm of human laws and social codes, including morality.

The middle level is the domain of the natural law encoded in the venerable Chinese Book of Change. Competence at the middle level is popularly called EQ – Emotional Intelligence. This is the realm of native virtues, including but not limited to courage, kindness and calmness. Compassion is the balanced composite of intrinsic virtues.

Still further inwards, deeper knowledge is experienced as intuition, sometimes called guidance. Most notably, the New and Old Testaments speak to this level.

At the hub of life’s Wheel, the unchanging center holds the radiating spokes and rim together. This eternal source of life and light is associated with the silent voice of Conscience. The Chinese call it the Tao, the Way which cannot be named.

Here’s how Ivan’s comments on nature vs. nurture fit into the Wheel. The surface of the Wheel is the level of daily experience, which includes on-the-job and classroom training as well as expert mentoring. This is the level of nurture – leadership development.

Even so, depending on what (or whether) they choose to learn from it, experience shapes different leaders differently. (Academics who are heavy on theory but light on experience are understandably frustrating to leaders whose common sense is highly developed.)

The middle level of the Wheel is where some leaders fall short. This is what Ivan calls nature – innate potentials. Leaders may or may not be self-aware on this level. Some trust their gut feelings more than others. A fortunate few, like Mozart, for example, are born already in-formed. But a deficit can be improved by relevant training, especially when reinforced by practical experience.

The innermost level of the Wheel is where more leaders are gun shy. This is the “And MORE” factor. Deeper than either surface nurture or middle level nature, only the most successful are in-formed by intuition (which is different from gut instinct.) Creative change agents regarded as visionaries receive their inspiration at this level.

The center of the Wheel is, by definition, absolute. The other levels emanate from and return to this creative source. The very best leaders are those who focus here and link the hub all the way to the surface. They’re equally competent on all levels in a balanced way. This is the ideal towards which to strive. It’s also the standard for deciding which leaders to follow, and which ones to promote.

In Positive Paradigm context, the three levels radiating outwards from the central hub are prioritized. For this reason, a highly proficient but insensitive and uninspired technician isn’t yet qualified to lead others. An enthusiastic, high energy leader may attract followers. But a charismatic speaker whose ethics are shaky or whose connection to the center is unstable needs work. Wherever there are deficiencies, once identified, they can be corrected. This is the purpose and value of the The Positive Paradigm Handbook.

The relationship amongst the levels explains the extraordinary success of leaders who start with few material advantages, but succeed far beyond many who begin with more.

Scriptures tell us, and the best leaders affirm, “With God, all things are possible.” That is to say, from a strong connection to the center, entire empires can be spun. Leaders who demonstrate the courage of their convictions make up for early social disadvantages through native intelligence, hard work and the not-coincidental luck this generates.

Detractors may doubt the necessary connection between material success, emotional intelligence, intuition and conscience. They ask, “What explains the success of the fabulously rich and powerful men on the planet who, as outspoken atheists, get whatever they want, however they want, with no regard for the harm they cause to anyone who dares stand their way?”

Well, there are many stories about bad deals with the Devil. Satan promises – and for a short time, can sometimes deliver – ephemeral success in the transitory world. But never the lasting peace which comes from following conscience. Disciples of Saul Alinsky, an admitted follower of Lucifer, can deliver worldly success to political organizers (you know who they are) willing to deceive, fragment and exploit the masses they pretend to serve.

But leaders who intentionally live true their conscience and succeed in linking the levels of life are key to a viable future. The rest of us will depend on them to out-think, out-maneuver and succeed long after pretenders with no substantial connection to the center of life have been blown away like dust in the wind.

So here’s my ongoing call to sages world-wide. Unite in the vision of Einstein’s Unified Theory. As he warned us, this “substantially new way of thinking” is a matter of human survival.

 Angel Calling