The traditional leadership model was designed for combat and competition, with a focus on survival, conquest, and defeating the enemy. Traditional leadership is hierarchical; rank determines power and authority. Decisions are made top-down and follow standard procedures, and drill, discipline, and unquestioned compliance are seen as key to achieving goals. A willingness to sacrifice is seen as key to winning, while ends are believed to justify the means. By some measures, this very masculine leadership discipline, focus, and extraordinary achievements under duress but, far too often, it comes at a painfully steep human cost.
Today, the context has changed dramatically and with it our expectations of leadership. Leadership was about maintaining order; today, its about knowing how to navigate ambiguity. In the past, many things were centrally controlled; today, we operate with peer to peer networks. We used to have very limited access to information; now, we have universal and instant access to massive amounts of information, to the point of information overload.
Power was closely held and is now distributed; we are moving from ranked “hierarchies”. The leader was the unquestioned boss, powerful and controlling; now, the leader needs to be a catalyst, empowering and inspiring.
Most current leadership models are essentially behavioural (telling us how to behave as leaders), and thus operate from outside in. They require us to develop certain competencies as a leader. Some of them also emphasise values and beliefs, which goes one level deeper but still not deep enough.
To manifest leadership based on true power, you need to start with the source. You need to understand what that source is, how to get in touch with it, how to harness it, and how to uniquely manifest it in the world. This is a three-step process: step in, step up and step out. Its about sensing, embodying and manifesting your true self and this is what we call conscious leadership.
Extract from Shakti leadership