Vivid autumn colors will soon burst forth across the Midwestern United States. Are you amazed by the shades of changing leaves, fall sunsets, and the harvest moon? But there’s more: it’s the season when nature dies around us. We see the grass turn brown; trees lose their leaves, and flowers dry up. It’s a transition to a barren time, a season when living things are dormant until spring brings life giving warmth and rain. Without the autumn death and the winter barrenness, the spring would not be filled with new life. Always welcomed as a time of new beginnings, fresh starts, and life; spring could not exist without the true beauty of autumn. This is nature’s illustration of the fundamental principle of death and dormancy in order to bring newness and life; it’s paramount for leaders. So then, leaders must die before they lead well? In a way, yes.
Leaders Must Die Regularly
Robert Quinn in his book, Change the World, says, “Now, here is a heretical thought. Leadership is not about results. It is about commitment. The entire management literature fails to understand this. Leadership authors do not understand that leadership means “Go forth to die.” If they did understand it, they would not be enticed to write about it – because people do not want to hear this message. Most people want to be told how to get extraordinary results with minimum risk. They want to know how to get out-of-the box results with in-the-box courage.” Quinn expresses it well: quit looking for life, newness, and fresh ideas where there is old thinking. Permit yourself to allow the old things to die. For those you lead, let your own agenda die and take a brand new look at what’s best for everyone. Leaders must die. And yes, it involves risk.
Leaders Must Die – Do You?
How do you rate personally in the area of dying and renewal? Answer these three questions to start. Then, experience the changing autumn season as a catalyst to you own change:
- Do results matter more to me than commitment to the health and effectiveness of my organization, business or group?
- Do I expect new ideas or growth in my organization or company while still engaging in old ways of approach to management and strategy?
- Do I guard my own agenda by resisting different viewpoints and risk?
If you answered “yes” to any of the above, then go a bit deeper and examine your “why” for holding to that mindset. This is the beginning of allowing the death of the very things that hold you back from higher levels of success. It is personal, yet it determines outcomes for many. It is about what goes on inside your head and your heart, yet it manifests in the face of your organization or business to the world!
Leaders Must Die to Self
We complain when the temperatures dip; we moan about chilly air and turning the heat on at home. We resist the changing season at first, for it takes us from our comfort zones and into a new paradigm for a season. Yet we must experience “autumn seasons” in our own lives—possibly over and over again—times of allowing the old nature and old habits and attitudes to die so that our minds and hearts can be renewed. Leaders must die…to self.
About the Author
Dr. Renée N. Hale is Lead Consultant at WellSpirit Consulting Group, Inc. WellSpirit Management Consulting provides custom company/organizational management solutions, individual leadership coaching and stand alone workshops. Located on the 84th floor of the Willis Tower, Chicago. Call (312) 283-8020 to schedule an appointment today. To join the Business Worth Living community, use the sign-up form on this page to receive our weekly Business Worth Living newsletter.