Thriving leadership is about getting results in a way that uplifts the capabilities and vitality of people and whole systems, empowers trust and partnership, and repeatedly delivers great performance. It is also about the conscious practice of evolving.
Why? To be effective, it is no longer adequate to merely widen your skills by adding new tools to your leadership toolkit. Unending change and upending complexities in the world, your organization, and daily life call you to step up to the role of leadership at your wisest and best; this means taking a journey of learning that is both wide and deep.
What do I mean by deep? Being willing to explore and update your internal operating system—the framework of values, life stance, and automatic beliefs and assumptions that shape why and how you lead. In their excellent book Mastering Leadership, my colleagues Bill Adams and Bob Anderson express why in simple yet profound terms:
“The inner game runs the outer game.”
Their voices are among centuries of truth-seekers and transformative leaders who emphasize this theme. Here is a collection of 15 examples that inspire me personally:
- “Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful.” Management consultant Margaret Wheatley
- “The reason why consciousness exists, and why there is an urge to widen and deepen it, is very simple … without consciousness things go less well.” Psychologist Carl Jung
- “We are preoccupied with comparisons, forming so many opinions, judgments, and preferences in reaction to life that rarely do we simply allow ourselves to experience things just as they are. By becoming aware of this internal voice and its messages, we can learn to shape our mind in a more constructive way.” Mediator Diane Musho Hamilton
- “Whatever you hold in your mind on a consistent basis is exactly what you experience in your life.” Motivational speaker Anthony Robbins
- “There can be no authentic transformation of the world without an effort at self-transformation on the part of those who are engaged in the act of transformation. If we are committed to the transformation of the world, we must be open and ready to be transformed in the process of transforming the world. Therefore, the challenge of change is, first and foremost, the challenge of self-transformation, of inner revolution and evolution.” Integral thought leader Yasuhiko Genku Kimura
- “As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world—that is the myth of the “atomic age”—as in being able to remake ourselves.” Renown leader Mahatma Gandhi
- “Almost every successful person begins with two beliefs: the future can be better than the present, and I have the power to make it so.” Rapper and spoken word artist Prince Ea
- “Since everything is a reflection of our minds, everything can be changed by our minds.” Buddha
- “The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes of mind.” Psychologist and physician William James
- “Be ye transformed by the renewal of your mind.” Romans 12:2
- “You must master a new way to think before you can master a new way to be.” Spiritual teacher Marianne Williamson
- “The X-factor of great leadership isn’t personality, it’s humility.” Management guru Jim Collins
- “We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all of the power we need inside ourselves already.” Author J.K. Rowling
- “When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds: Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great, and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.” Yogic sage Patanjali
- “Your behavior, to the extent that you live up to your highest, is actually creating structures that future humanity will inhabit. Therefore, choose your acts very, very carefully. Make sure that the next action you take comes from your highest self.” Integral thought leader Ken Wilber
The inner game drives the outer game, a potent insight on which effective leaders act. What quotes would you add to the list above? And what actions will you take to continually up-level your inner game?
If you’d like to learn more about our approaches to build thriving leaders and organizations, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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- Shifting From Reactivity To Wellbeing
- What Do Rebellion, Transformation, And Wellbeing Have In Common?
- The Path Of The Evolving Leader: Leadership As Practice
- Is The Planet Ready For A Different Way Of Leading?
- Ready To Boost Leader Effectiveness And Wisdom? Try Mindfulness!
- Leading From Authenticity: Boosting Your Energy, Impact, and Wellbeing
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