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Leadership Development – The Missing Ingredient

It’s no secret that leaders need to keep their skills sharp to be effective. And with all the training programs and methods available – the Internet, teleconferences, retreats, workshops, books, executive leadership programs – covering countless skills like strategic planning, project management, resource optimization, team building, conflict management and communication, it seems that every aspect of leadership is clearly defined and anyone can acquire the skills easily.

It would appear that our leaders would become greater by acquiring this knowledge and skill, but do they? What are we missing?

The answer may not lie in the question “What are we missing?” but rather in uncovering what we as humans are losing from the technology era in which we exist.

Our world moves at a very rapid pace. Our environment continuously assaults our senses, minds, bodies and emotions with an over-abundance of technology that’s designed to make our lives easier.

Technology has sped up our ability to communicate, acquire knowledge, do research, and stay in contact with others around the world, and with that speed has come an addiction to constant movement. Just look at the highways, the sidewalks and our office halls. Everyone is in a hurry to get somewhere, get something done, move onto the next thing. We have more projects and tasks to accomplish before we leave the office. And if we don’t finish them at the office, we usually finish them at home. Critical items for vacation now include a cell phone, laptop and blackberry. And time away with the family involves e-mail, voicemail, phone calls from the office and projects on our laptops after the family goes to sleep.

We operate so fast that many of us miss our lives. Most of us haven’t taken the time to appreciate the real beauty around us – the blue skies, the smell of the flowers, the feel of grass under our feet, the laughter of our children, the proud smile of our parents, or the touch of our loved ones. We don’t take time for ourselves; we can’t escape the office and its sophisticated means of staying in touch.

Many of us, our leaders, our managers, those that run our country and the world are missing a critical connection to themselves. We’ve become so removed that we can’t identify our values, we can’t connect to what’s important in our lives, we don’t see our limiting habits and patterns. We operate on autopilot.

The often overlooked but critical leadership skills are self-awareness and the ability to connect with ourselves – being aware of our emotions, our positive and negative thought patterns, our habits, our belief systems and our values. We need to realign our minds, bodies and emotions so we can become whole, fully present human beings with clear intention.

If our leaders and managers were fully present, had clear intentions and really understood how their thought patterns and behaviors affected themselves and others, wouldn’t our world be a beautiful, peaceful place to live?


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