What is the first thing that employees wish for when it comes to a new boss?
What we know is that not many people pray for a dictator or narcissistic boss to slave drive them all day long and remind them that they should be thankful they have a job, repeatedly. We hope for leaders who are kind, compassionate, fair, ethical, empathic, competent, and so on. We do have a good understanding of the qualities we seek in our leaders. Granted that these leaders are rare gems and hard to come by and we often confuse our managers as our leaders.
Leaders have preoccupied our thinking since the ancient times; the debate regarding effective and great leadership continues to reshape our thoughts and understanding. It becomes clear from the review literature, that the definition, construction, and characteristics of leadership have evolved as the society and its needs and requirements have advanced.
According to the Wikipedia, theories have continued to transform from the mythical Great Man theory to the Traits, Behavioral, Participatory, Situational, Contingency, and Servant, Transactional, and Transformational models to better capture the essence of exemplary leadership. The time is right for exploring a more spiritual, moral, and global model of leadership that is more aligned with our common understanding, needs, and hopes.
So, what is different about transcendental leaders?
These leaders are able to transcend their own egos and desires and help their followers do that as well to serve a greater purpose. They help us bind together as people, having a common path and shared destiny. Transcendental leaders evoke in us the greater purpose in living and assist us to see organizations as instruments to build a more progressive, prosperous, civilized and just society. They inspire us to seek meaning in our work beyond profit making and living a self-indulging life.
Some of history’s greatest leadership icons (i.e., Jesus Christ, Gandhi, Dr. King, Washington, and Mother Theresa) have clearly demonstrated this key attribute. They lived a simple life and showed moral courage to stand up for truth and justice, suffer for, or die for, their beliefs and values.
We are at the threshold of a monumental social and global shift in our worldviews, moving from self-worship to self-consciousness, words to actions, independence to interdependence, individual to collective and fragmented nations to an integrated world community. The Internet, a growing nervous system of this global family, is bringing us together over the distance of a few clicks. The invisible hand, of the rational self-interest Adam Smith that permeated our mind sets and social systems may have come to its farthest reaching point as the natural capacities of our planet and its peoples are at their limits. The time for the transcendental leadership is now!