Presence – “The key to conscious and authentic leadership”

excerpt from the bookDiamond Leadership

“The success of particular intervention depends on the inner conditions of the intervener”

William O’Brien


The observation of people and teams that are experiencing a state of flow leads to the conclusion that the quality and results produced by a team depend on the quality of presence of the members of that team. Above all, this depends on the presence of the leader and/or the leadership team.


QUALITY OF PRESENCE = QUALITY OF SYSTEM

As with most intangible, invisible or abstract things, presence is not a simple concept to describe. I’d even say that too many descriptions and words sometimes have the opposite effect when it comes to understanding what presence is.

To start describing presence, let me share what I recently heard in a lecture about presence by a masterful and very present teacher:

“The presence occurs only in the present moment.” (Jeanne Hay)

Jeanne says that presence is not a thought, rather it is a being. Presence moves us towards greater internal depth, freedom and wisdom, and it is a natural optimizing movement.

My experience of presence is that it is a direct contact with our true nature (the true Self), a balanced state between relaxation and awareness in the present moment, and is the most natural state of our existence.

The four co-authors of the book “Presence”, and global leaders in the areas of organizational leadership and social transformation, Peter Senge, Otto Scharmer, Joseph Javorski, and Betty Sue, when speaking of presence in the context of personal and organizational transformation, say that in order to be “born” in the new more complete world (in other words to break through and transform), we need to be open and present. They say that without presence, we may have a superficial understanding, but no internal knowledge.

Experiences show that presence is necessary to transport us from our comfort zone (the known) through the space of the unknown, to the territory of new knowledge and a creative existence. Because of this, presence is one of the key qualities and skills necessary for new leaders, in the post conventional leadership paradigm. It is the essence of authentic transformation, in people and systems.
Authentic leadership and presence go hand in hand.

In the context of creative dialogue, as I mentioned previously, without a sufficient level of presence, teams/systems will continue to operate in the downloading zone of existence. Their containers are not tight enough, and they are vulnerable to the pressure of the creative tensions.

Without presence at the personal and team level, people are susceptible to their unconscious and paralyzing fears and limiting beliefs, and they are impulsive and reactive. They end up doing what they know, and performing in the comfort zone.

On an individual level, the leader who is not present could be considered as an “ego leader”. S/he is not fully authentic, since s/he is not in touch with her/his true nature, and her/his motivations and actions stem from the ego structure.

Systems/communities led by ego leaders operate in an unbalanced and unstable way.

This leader or the leadership team (and the system they lead) simply don’t have a sufficient energetic capacity to inspire and lead the whole system in the zone of flow and balance. The Ego never has and never will have that capacity. The system remains fragmented and is not wholly unified.

With the increase of presence and the ability to hold the creative tension for longer intervals, there is a rise in the overall capacity for conscious awareness in the system, which helps the system to both relax and stay present in the natural “NOW-ness”. These conditions within the container enable the system to collectively break through (penetrate, or rather dissolve) the walls of the comfort zone, and enter the zone of flow. Here the system touches the core of existence – our true nature, and its dynamic and inexhaustible reservoirs of wisdom, knowledge and creativity.

This is the place from which leaders, organizations, and humanity as a whole need to function in the 21st century. This is the presence zone, the zone of diamond leadership.

 


Diamond Leadership is available on Kindle.


RELATED & RECOMMENDED READING

Diamond Heart Being and the Meaning of Life book 3, A.H. Almaas, Diamond Books 1990 

Presence – Exploring profound change in people, organizations and society, Peter M. Senge, Joseph Jaworski, C. Otto Scharmer and Betty Sue Flowers, Nicholas Brealey publishing 2005

The power of Now Eckhart Tolle , Hodder Stoughton 1999

Practising the Power of Now Eckhart Tolle


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Categories: DIAMOND LEADERSHIP BOOK

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