All leadership begins with “self-leadership.” There are four unique pillars that create the “substance” of leadership. The first is self-awareness
, whereby an individual understands fully their own strengths, weaknesses, values, and worldview. Socrates, the Greek philosopher
, thought it very important to “know thyself.” The second pillar is ingenuity
, whereby a person can be innovative and adapt to embrace a constantly changing world. One thing that is known for sure is that change is a constant in any business or leadership endeavor. The third pillar is love
. This means engaging others with a positive, loving attitude. Sadly there is a lot unloving behavior in the world today that disrespects human dignity. Love people, not things. Lastly, the fourth pillar is heroism
. This is where an individual energizes himself/herself and others through heroic ambitions. Look around because there are heroes everywhere doing big things and maybe even more importantly, the little things too.
Leaders figure out where we need to go, point us in the right direction, get everyone to agree that we need to get there, and rally us through the inevitable obstacles that separate us from the promised land. Harvard Business School professor John Kotter
, a leading commentator on corporate management practices, offers a sorry indictment of the current state of leadership in the United States, “I am completely convinced that most organizations today lack the leadership they need. And the shortfall is often large. I’m not talking about a deficit of 10% but one 200%, 400%, or more in positions up and down the hierarchy.”
When Kotter made these pronouncements, no critic derided him for hyperbole. Leadership is not “command and control” relying on just one person to lead the rest. It is also not a quick-fix approach that equates leadership with mere technique and tactics, all designed to manipulate people’s psyche. Leadership starts with knowing your strengths and weaknesses and doing a self-examination each day of what you did well and where you fell short. This daily habit of reflection (doing a self-examination) brings self-awareness to a more mature place in our lives.
The Four Pillars of Leadership by Lamar Hunt Jr.