On leadership

23/04/2015 § 4 Comments

I am trying out my poetry on an unsuspecting world! This comes out of reflecting on the whole cult of “leadership” in business and organisations.



“Can you be a leader,
if you have no followers?look up2

Strangely, desiring followers
diminishes you as a leader.

Since leadership is about knowing yourself,
tapping into the wellspring of life deep inside you,
and being true to that.

It’s about trusting that if you cleave to your truth,
followers, if followers are needed, will appear,
as may critics, false friends and true opponents.

If you desire followers,
it’s a distraction from your inner inquiry,
it stokes the ego, not the truth.

True leadership is not something you can do.
It’s something you surrender to.”


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§ 4 Responses to On leadership

  • donsalmon says:

    How interesting, Patrick. I’ve been musing on what it means in my life that I’ve seen various people with similar interests (spiritual or “contemplative” psychology) go on to build various “followings” and I’ve just gone along the last 45 years (dating back to when this first “came to me” to play/work on this) and wondered about leaders and followers and what my work means in or to the world.

    Sometimes I look at people with long resumes and prestigious positions and feel a pang of jealousy until either I (or more often, my wife) remember that I have never wanted to do those things and if it had come to pass that I was put in a position to do those things I would have felt that I had lost my soul.

    In fact, it astonishes me that I have never found anyone anywhere doing quite what I’m trying to do – which of course could just mean I’m crazy and wasting my entire life – which is possible of course!

    Recently, it literally just “came to me” what the next phase was going to be – I got the book “Beyond Physicalism” (it came out 2-15-15) and I don’t know what possessed me but the morning after I got it I wrote what the editor of the book said was the longest and most “journal-like” review he ever read on Amazon. I somehow “know” i’m going to, in the next few years, do some kind of work related to that, and the other connection is a 2 volume work called “Foundations of Indian psychology”, which is associated with a project connected to over 2 dozen universities in india.

    But I have no followers:>))

    And the more I muse on this, the more of a good thing it seems.

    even if ti means I’m crazy and all this is for nought!

  • Nice, Don 🙂 It seems to me entirely consistent with Zen Buddhism (something I have more than a passing interest in) that one simply acts and lets go. Gandhi too said this. We have no way of knowing what impact our actions will have in the world. Maybe one person in 10 years time will pick up what we have done and it will change their life and 1000s of others. Sine we can’t know, all we can do is trust our gut, or intuition, or heart (or whatever you want to call it), and act and surrender.

  • Finn Jackson says:

    I agree with all of the above. It’s been something I’ve been delving into deeply for the past 10 months as I write a book on leadership in times of change.

    I’m aware this comment could come across simply as self promotion, but as (I think) you both say, this book is simply the thing that I HAVE to write, no matter what.

    I agree that true leadership is about tapping deep into ourself. Really I think it’s about personal development and self actualisation. Finding the thing that we feel most called to do, allowing ourselves to accept that, and then bringing to the world whatever we feel most deeply passionate about.

    And in terms of the ‘followers’ thing the quote I came across that works for me is that “True leaders don’t create followers. True leaders create more leaders.”

    That at least is what my book turns out to be trying to do. Create more leaders like you two, and give those leaders the tools to a) get deeply in touch with what matters most to them, and b) implement it on a world that needs it.

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