Open Leadership is Bigger than You

February 5, 2020 Open Leadership No Comments

This is an invitation for any leader to grow. One needs to continuously grow to be an Open Leader.

‘Open’ means open to all sides, especially the insides.

“A big error for a leader is to put his self-interest above the group.” One hears this frequently. The solution looks simple: put the interest of the group above yours and you will be a fantastic leader. Does anyone believe this? I don’t.

People are egocentric.

Including you and me.

And that’s OK because it’s just the way it is. You don’t make anyone – including yourself- less egocentric by just telling him not to be so. That’s not the way of the human being. We are not robots.

Not the ego is the problem, but the dissociated ego: the one that thinks there is nothing else inside a person but ego. In truth, the ego is like the tip of a mountain, an island in the sea. The rest of the mountain lies under the surface.

The mountain is much bigger than the island.

Trying to make the island absorb the mountain will never do. On the other side, the island is part of the mountain. Negating the mountain, the island – in this metaphor – disappears into the ocean.

One needs to respect the island, and one needs to respect the mountain. One needs to respect oneself. Then the mountain will grow and, as a result, the island will grow. Eventually, the island can become as big as a mountain. This is true, Open Leadership.

It is not the island that accomplishes this.

Herein lies a frequent error. The island should not try to make itself bigger. Neither should someone try to make the island bigger, nor even to incite the island to do so by itself. Something radically different is necessary.

Namely: a realistic vision upon oneself and other people. A broad vision beneath the surface of the ocean as well as above. On top of this: a willingness to act according to this vision.

No greatness without depth

No mountain can simply fly in the air. Its base is as important as the top. Inciting people towards ‘greatness’ – with all good intentions – is therefore never enough. It may lead to disappointment after disappointment until the person quits and takes shelter in some smallness.

Thus, it’s better to show the base than the top.

‘Rising to the occasion,’ it’s the mountain that rises, not the island by itself.

From the base, an Open Leader can grow into something truly bigger than himself. This is also the most durable, of course. The durability is built on integrity: island and mountain being integrally one. They can grow over centuries, millennia.

Open Leadership doesn’t stop with one generation.

Building on it, you build on something that lasts forever.

Truly bigger than you.

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