Academic journal article International Journal of Education and Management Studies

A Transpersonalapproach to Leadership in the 21st Century

Academic journal article International Journal of Education and Management Studies

A Transpersonalapproach to Leadership in the 21st Century

Article excerpt

"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.

-Bernard Shaw

Indian society seems to be in a state of transition. While we boast of a high percentage of youth in our population and project a robust economic growth yet society is in a state of turmoil where there is free play of corruption and brutalisation of humanity. If the country has to emerge unscathed out of the current chaos, the youth need powerful role models.

Much has been spoken, written, debated and discussed with regards to Leadership. Leadership provides a sense of purpose to help create goals and objectives. Leadership is a process of giving purpose to collective goals and expending efforts to achieve these goals (Jacobs & Jacques 1990). People look for leaders who can provide stability in the context of their lives. Most of us start from a place of ego-based personal leadership, as a common leadership pattern. The decisions we make, usually impact our own lives and are driven by power, recognition or reward. When we choose to go beyond the ego, we make decisions that impact other stakeholders and thus enter the realm of spirituality.

Several books by management experts have bombarded readers in the market on the subject of leadership models. At the same time various researchers have proposed voluminous theories of leadership, highlighting several approaches that leaders follow depending on the organizational structure and culture within which they operate. Leadership and management are often confused. John P. Kotter (1990) of the Harvard business School states that management is about coping with complexity whereas leadership is about coping with change. Empirical research on leadership theories formulated by Bass B.M. et al( 1996) distinguishes between transformational and transactional leadership. In transformational, the followers feel trust, admiration, loyalty and they are motivated to do more than they are originally expected to do. In contrast, transactional leadership involves an exchange process that may result in follower compliance with leader requests but is not likely to generate enthusiasm and commitment to task objectives.

Further examining the literature on types of contemporary leadership theories, it was found that charismatic and transformational leaders had a common theme wherein they viewed their role as individuals who inspired followers through their words, ideas and behaviours. The difference being that if charismatic leaders had a long-term strategy for attaining goals, through a formal articulation of an organisations vision statement, transformational leaders inspired followers to transcend their self interests for the good of the organisation. Although some researchers consider them synonymous, still others believe that transformational is broader than charismatic leadership. (Robbins S.P, Judge T.A &Vohra N., 2012)

Leadership as a subject has excited interest among people and the widespread fascination with it may be because it is such a mysterious process, as well as one that touches everyone's life. Leadership styles have also been a topic of great interest in the context of political careers that have had huge impact on the historical and the economic growth of both developed as well as developing countries around the world. Questions about leadership have long been a subject of speculation, attempting to discover what traits, abilities, behaviours, influence followers to accomplish task objectives (Yukl, G; 2012) If leadership is about being effective, then he would give direction, initiate, persist, anticipate, understand the value of teamwork and effective communication. This would soon escalate him to the level of an enlightened leader who would be of a strong character, who would then keep his egocentricity in check and in doing so would become even more effective. Thus besides showing high intelligence, an essential ingredient of leadership is being able to manage his own emotions through self awareness. …

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