In my early life I used to do things because I thought I should. I was dominated by “should’s” and the implicit fear that my personal worth was tied to doing them. No more. Now I do only what I want to do, and this is very liberating. I also used to think that I had to do everything by myself. Now I gladly ask for help and receive it, and this is also very liberating. The key learning is that we aren’t put on the planet to be alone.
Changes in Leadership Style
Changes in senior sage leadership styles over the years have principally occurred in six areas. One involves the movement from top-down leadership to involving and respecting other people and placing confidence in them. The second concerns a shift in leadership style from being more to becoming less driven, calmer, and more centered. A third change is the discovery that collaboration is more important than the individual leader attempting to make things happen alone. And there are other changes as well: greater tolerance in accepting outcomes if they don’t measure-up to original expectations, learning that effective leadership requires accountability and a great deal of patience, no longer needing to have a title to be a leader, and finding that personal influence is more important than positional power.
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From top-down to involving others. Many of the senior leaders have occupied high level, authoritative positions that enabled them to call the shots. Whether due to the aging process or the result of learning the hard way from experience, senior sages report their shift to a leadership style that involves others:
I am less dictatorial and more of a consensus builder now. And I am more flexible. I had some very good mentors early on in my career. One of the reasons I moved up the corporation very fast was I had no intention of making a career of it. So I didn’t let anything stop me from accomplishing what I wanted. It was a hidebound company with lots of rules, so if you broke a rule and failed you were toast. But if you broke a rule and succeeded, you could take the next steps until you get promoted. So I got to try a lot of things, and people there gave me lots of latitude.