W e can think of leaders we admire and would like to emulate. Many have made the world a better place: Gandhi,Martin Luther King, Jr., and Jesus. We can also think of leaders we don’t admire. Some have hurt many people: Hitler, Stalin, and Saddam Hussein who admired and emulated Stalin. What makes for such vast differences in leadership? How do we begin to think about becoming the best leader possible — doing the most good, helping the most people, or being the kind others want to emulate? We want to assist people in being the best kind of leader possible. We think of leadership as being a spectrumwith high-level leaders,low- level leaders, and every nuance in between. What is high-level leadership? This is emotionally, mature leadership.This person is high on a hypothetical “scale of differentiation of self ” which describes human functioning from the highest levels to the lowest in health, mental health, relationships, and general functioning. This person has fairly trouble-free and long- lasting relationships. Their families do well and are freer of symptoms than the average. They carry less anxiety and so they are freer of symptoms.Their organizations are less anxiety ridden than most because much anxiety in organizations comes from the top down. These leaders are not led by what everyone thinks, though they stay aware of others’ ideas and maintain an open atmosphere for ideas. They are not led by what their closest allies in
Why this difference in leaders? It is thought that people are at different levels on the scale due to the level of the family they were brought up in. In addition, the stress levels in the family then and how those stressors affected family relationships, all play a part. Can we go higher on the scale? We believe that one, by hard work and careful teaching, can go higher on the scale. We have seen rather amazing results. When people worked on their family relationships and in their organizations, they have realized great results. Dr. Roberta Gilbert maintains a private psychiatric practice and is a faculty member of the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family and the founder of the Center for the Study of Human Systems, author, and speaker. She works with business leaders, pastors, and therapists, particularly in Bowen family systems theory for individuals, families, and organizations.
the organization think or feel though they are in good contact with them. They are not led by their own feelings and emotions though they stay aware of those. They are led by their guiding principles and those of the organization upon which they are very clear and use them in decision making, day-to-day behavior, and relationships. What are guiding principles? Guiding principles are well thought-out ideas the leader would like to live by.In an organization, principles are developed by the organization. Principles are explicit and tested in real life over time, but can be changed if new data emerge to support the change. What are low-level leaders? Low-level leaders have more physical, mental, and emotional symptoms, and they carry more anxiety than do those higher on the scale. Their relationships, marriages, and children do not do as well.Their lives are more problem- ridden. Because leadership is influential to the whole organization and because anxiety is infectious, this level of anxiety spills over into their organization interfering with productivity and the ability of people to do their best. So these organizations do not work as well as those run by leaders higher on the scale.