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“If you’re going to be a leader, you’re going to have to have a very loose relationship with this thing you call ‘I’ or ‘me’. Maybe that whole thing in me around which the universe revolves isn’t so central! Maybe life is not about the self but about self-transcendence.”
-Werner Erhard, The New York Times, November 28, 2015
“The Editors of the “Handbook for Teaching Leadership” say the following in their introductory chapter: “How does one teach leadership in a way that not only informs [students] about leadership but also transforms them into actually being leaders?” (p. XXIV)
“The sole objective of our ontological/phenomenological approach to creating leaders is to leave students actually being leaders and exercising leadership effectively as their natural self-expression. By “natural self-expression” we mean a way of being and acting in any leadership situation that is a spontaneous and intuitive effective response to what one is dealing with.”
-From the Abstract for Creating Leaders: An Ontological/Phenomenological Model, by Werner Erhard, Michael C. Jensen and Kari Granger
“”We assert that integrity (the condition of being whole and complete) is a necessary condition for workability, and that the resultant level of workability determines the available opportunity for performance. Hence, the way we treat integrity in our model provides an unambiguous and actionable access to the opportunity for superior performance, no matter how one defines performance.
For an individual we distinguish integrity as a matter of that person’s word being whole and complete. For a group or organizational entity we define integrity as that group’ or organization’s word being whole and complete. A group’s or organization’s word consists of what is said between the people in that group or organization, and what is said by or on behalf of the group or organization. In that context, we define integrity for an individual, group, or organization as: honoring one’s word.
“Oversimplifying somewhat, “honoring your word”, as we define it, means you either keep your word, or as soon as you know that you will not, you say that you will not be keeping your word to those who were counting on your word and clean up any mess you caused by not keeping your word. By “keeping your word” we mean doing what you said you would do and by the time you said you would do it.
“Honoring your word is also the route to creating whole and complete social and working relationships. In addition, it provides an actionable pathway to earning the trust of others.“
– From the Abstract for A New Model of Integrity: An Actionable Pathway to Trust, Productivity and Value, by Werner Erhard, Michael C. Jensen and Steve Zaffron
“We argue here that the four factors we identify as constituting the foundation for being a leader and the effective exercise of leadership can also be seen as the foundations not only for great leadership, but also for a high quality personal life and an extraordinary organization. One can see this as a “value free” approach to values because, 1) integrity as we define it (being whole and complete) is a purely positive proposition, 2) authenticity is also a purely positive proposition (being and acting consistent with who you hold yourself out to be for others and who you hold yourself to be for yourself), 3) being committed to something bigger than oneself is also a purely positive proposition (that says nothing about what that commitment should be other than it be bigger than oneself), and 4) being cause in the matter as a declaration of the stand you take for yourself regarding everything in your life is also a purely positive proposition”
In this discussion we are not concerned with values or virtues. While Authenticity, Being Cause in the Matter, Being Committed to something Bigger Than Oneself, and Integrity can be approached as normative values we are not concerned with them as being right or good in some absolute sense, or with their absence as being wrong or bad. This is not a discussion of ethics, morality or virtues.
We advocate these principles not because they are “right”, but simply because they are in each individual’s personal self-interest and in each organization’s corporate self-interest.
These principles create workability, trust, peace, joy and private and social value.
They provide a path for individuals, organizations & societies to realize much of what people generally think ethics and morality produce.
These Four Ways of Being that Create the Foundations of A Great Personal Life, Great Leadership and A Great Organization are:
1) Authenticity: Being and acting consistent with who you hold yurself out to be for others, and who you hold yourself out to be for yourself. When leading, being authentic leaves you grounded, and able to be straight without using force.
2) Being Cause in the Matter of Everything in Your Life: Being cause in the Matter is a stand you take for yourself and life – and acting from that stand. It leaves you with power. You are never a victim.
3) Being Committed to Something Bigger than Oneself: Source of the serene passion (charisma) required to lead and to develop others as leaders, and the source of persistence (joy in the labor of) when the path gets tough.
4) Integrity (in our model a positive phenomenon): Being whole and complete – achieved by “honoring one’s word” (creates workability, develops trust).
Knowing, Doing, and Being
Teaching Leadership: Approaches That Emphasize Being
“How does one teach leadership in a way that not only informs [students] about leadership but also transforms them into actually being leaders? In this section, several authors share courageous and often unconventional approaches to teaching that target the very essence of who we are, the BE component of leadership education.
“Erhard, Jensen and Granger anchor this collection by taking dead aim at the BE component. In a highly provocative chapter titled “Creating Leaders”, this eclectic group of scholars argues for adopting a decidedly ontological approach to leadership education that promises to leave students actually being leaders. Contrasting their ontological approach−described as being and action as experienced ‘on the court’−with more traditional perspectives where leadership is observed and commented on ‘from the stands,’ this chapter presents a rigorous theory of leadership education that begins and ends with the following bold promises to students:
• You will leave this course being who you need to be to be a leader.
• You will leave this course with what it takes to exercise leadership effectively.
“For these authors, integrity, authenticity, and being committed to something bigger than oneself form the base of ‘the context for leadership,’ a context that once mastered, leaves one actually being a leader. It is not enough to know about or simply understand these foundational factors, but rather by following a rigorous, phenomenologically based methodology, students have the opportunity to create for themselves a context that leaves them actually being a leader and exercising leadership effectively as their natural self-expression.” – editors comments from The Handbook for Teaching Leadership: Knowing, Doing, and Being, Edited by Snook, Scott A., Nohria, Nitin N., and Khurana, Rakesh, Sage Publications, Inc., 2011.
“Within everyone there is a natural latent leadership ability.”