Philosophy in Leadership

In his book titled ‘Leadership: The Inner Side of Greatness’ Dr. Peter Koestenbaum talks about true leadership beliefs and behavior that could make an organization distinctively stand out in our far too competitive world.

Apart from touching me personally on a philosophical level, the ideas in this book are beautiful, but challenging for the average employee. Koestenbaum hit the nail on the head when he says –


..even if they might not be interested in this discipline on the surface.

Here are some of the most incredible leadership ideas I’ve read about in this book so far which I’m trying to internalize in my work with organizations. You need to read this book to grasp their full meanings, so these points may seem abstract and esoteric upon reading them for the first time:

1. Leaders think whole and think specific at the same time. Their minds have been trained to exist outside of realms that have been created by man and place themselves on entirely universal laws of nature. They have mastered the art of parallel processing where multi-thinking becomes second nature.

2. Leaders know the purpose of their life. They fight for a cause they believe in, and manifest this cause in their chosen field of work. The cause of a true leader is always for the benefit of others, and is dedicated to the success of the customer. The purpose of a leader’s work is tied to welfare and profits are a natural result.

3. Leaders have a different concept of time. They “make” time in the true sense of the word. They take themselves out of normal time and are not controlled by the clock. Time always passes by quickly for them due to the fulfillment in their work. In fact if there is no personal fulfillment in your work, you will never solve your perpetual time-management and scheduling problem.

4. Leaders subscribe to deontological philosophy of “doing what is right”. They follow the highest standards of ethics possible, and seek to grow on their own merits rather than comparing themselves to competitors. They do things because it is the right thing to do, which usually translates into higher levels of quality for optimal customer loyalty to you and your company.

How can these principles be practically applied in organizations?

As a Top Level Manager: You can create your organization’s culture based on these tenets, which your competitors can never copy (they can copy your products but not your culture).

As a Line Manager: You are the most important link between organization strategy and effective execution for the company. In your position, these principles might get you motivated to train your subordinates to increase awareness in quality of your products and remind them of why they have the job they do. You also have the intuitive power to affect your organization’s strategy and bring it to new heights using these leadership ideas.

As a Young Employee: You are a leader in your own right. Your individuality can be effectively enhanced by adopting a leadership mindset from a very young stage in your career. It will surely improve your chances of receiving opportunities in higher positions when your management starts to take notice of how your behavior oozes of wanting to make that all-important difference.

At the start of his book, Koestenbaum says that you would be cheating the world and yourself if you don’t live up to the potential you have been gifted with. Deep thought and integrated action are essential to moving yourself and your organization forward to the place it needs to reach.

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