We can cultivate many highly desirable virtues in our individual and organizational pursuits if we better appreciate the essential dynamics of consciousness behind them. Excellence is one such virtue.
Inspiring excellence implies that the leader is not only ready to go beyond his self-limits, but also convince others working with him or her to do the same -- this often entails overcoming self-imposed limitations that are a result of long-term conditioning. This is the essential meaning and, thus, goal of leadership.
Attaining excellence means training our focus on a higher level of perfection, necessitating the surpassing of the limits of our narrow egoic self. It means transcending limitations that are wrought by conditioning to work for the greater good, a higher goal.
Excellence is not only the demand for good qualitative performance at work but also entails remaining connected to one's deep spiritual self. The pursuit of excellence keeps one connected to one's inner spiritual source of energy – this energy is inexhaustible, which means that the leader does not experience stress in his or her quest.
As we try to capitalize on our competencies we get stuck to them. We do not know how to exceed our own known abilities.
Another important trait of leadership that has a natural association with inspiring excellence is according dignity to others. When a leader rises above selfish, egoic considerations, he or she can recognize and appreciate the self-worth of others and accord them dignity.
These twin leadership virtues – inspiring excellence and according dignity to others -- have the power to foster greater productivity and creativity. In fact they are the wings that can help us fly to heights beyond our imagination.
As we move through the ordinary course of our life and career, we focus on our competencies and what benefits we can best put them to. That's what we hire and are hired for. But even as we try to capitalize on our competencies we get stuck to them. We do not know how to widen our repertoire or exceed our own known abilities. Therefore, our own competencies render us dysfunctional in the face of crises or uncertainties. We should know what there is in us that can be put to profitable use, but also the emptiness or the open spaces for our competencies to grow and become more functional. Let us understand this truth in the light of Tao Te Ching:
Thirty spokes join in one hub
In its emptiness, there is the function of a vehicle
Mix clay to create a container
In its emptiness there is the function of a container
Cut open doors and windows to create a room
In its emptiness, there is the function of a room
Therefore that which exists is used to create benefit
That which is empty is used to create functionality...
These lines eloquently illustrate how discovering our empty spaces can allow us to tap into our own sources of inherent greatness and excellence. As we learn to discover the empty spaces within our consciousness -- beyond all the knowledge and learning that our mind is packed with -- the process of creative amalgamation sets in and novel pathways to excellence are carved out. Our knowledge and competencies not only become functional they gain momentum. It doesn't just add speed to our feet it adds wings that allow us to fly into hitherto unexplored open spaces.
As we learn to discover the empty spaces within our consciousness, the process of creative amalgamation sets in and novel pathways to excellence are carved out.
According dignity unfastens the hold of inhibitions that our relationships often get stuck in. As we learn how to recognize the worth of others and accord them dignity we allow the necessary space in a relationship where it can flow and flourish and grow in creative dimensions. That's why friendships flourish more than any other relationships as they allow more free space in between for creative unfolding. Taking a cue from this, we can bring in a greater element of friendship in other relationships to make them flow and flourish.
True leadership is not dragging a team or an organization in a regimented march, where the feet drag with the weight of its inhibited relationships. Instead, it means but helping relationships unfold by creating open spaces in between, making them more functional and innovative. This is made possible as one learns to grow in the real art of leadership, where inspiring excellence and according dignity are paramount.