From our Healing Leaders Manifesto:
The Nature of Meaningful Change and the Role of the Leader
- Trying to control what cannot be controlled is an endeavor that is riddled with anxiety. (You can “change” a person for about a week, but unless internally motivated to change, he or she will snap back to homeostasis.)
- People do not resist change so much as they resist being changed. All efforts at changing someone introduce the leader’s anxiety into the system. Efforts at “self-regulation” on the part of the leader to refrain from introducing anxiety into the system will remove a significant barrier to meaningful change.
- People, if not overwhelmed, have an opportunity to be creative, learn and grow through “non-anxious challenge.” (The human immune system is an illustration of this phenomenon.) Traditional models of leadership, with their focus on changing others, do not authentically challenge others.
- A “non-anxious presence” on the part of a leader, who keeps the focus on his/her own functioning, presents the best opportunity for lasting change in others. This is a phenomenon that can be cooperated with by leaders. However, it cannot be used as a strategy to change others. Change can be invited in this way but the leader cannot “create” (i.e. coerce) change.
- We believe current “other-focused” models of leadership need to be confronted and rejected. Leaders are not “saviors” who must deliver their members from their lower selves. Leaders are also not “baby sitters” who must accommodate themselves to the lowest-common denominator of maturity in others. Leaders are not responsible for creating change (controlling what cannot be controlled). Leaders are responsible for providing vision regarding the primary mission of the organization and maintaining a non-anxious presence to lower anxiety in the organization. [Only in this way is there a better than average chance for an individual to access higher maturity and perform at remarkably improved levels.]