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Transcendental Leadership

Leadership is a much contested topic. Varied have been the theories of leadership and varied have been the qualities attributed to a good leader. From the genetic theory of leadership of aristocrats that leadership is passed on from one generation to the next through “blue blood” ; leadership has come a long way to the various theories postulated in the 20th century, such as the Charismatic Authority theory of Max Weber, Situational Leadership theory, Functional Leadership model, and Antonio Gramsci’s theory of Cultural Hegemony. One theory that is gaining more and more attention in the 21st century is the theory of “Transcendental Leadership.”

Transcendental Leadership is a form of leadership that leads ship out of the troubled corporate waters. This is a very competitive world that we live in and corporate world is at odds to meet the demands laid by the world market. Theories of leadership are mostly based on defined human limits. “Defined” is the key word here. Human beings limit themselves by defining what they can or cannot do. Transcendental Leadership works towards the undoing of those limits. Transcendental leaders envision new modes of thought and have a deeper sense of feeling.

The ten qualities of a transcendental leader are:

1. Doing the impossible – Transcendental leaders do what they infer as the right thing at the opportune moment. Every great act has been termed impossible at one point or the other. 

2. Feeling the numbness – Numbness occurs when something takes us unawares. In a tough situation we generally feel numb, feel incapacitated and immobilized. The good thing about this is that feeling bad is not always bad. Numbness is a normal psychological reaction to a strange circumstance and all transcendental leaders are aware of this. The period of numbness gives their mind to accustom themselves to the new situation. And then they act from that situation. 

3.Touching the untouchables – The untouchables here are those people who feel very less motivated. They are the ones who need to be mobilized and those are left as lost cause by other managers.

4. Seeing the invisible – Transcendental leaders must have the gift of foresight. They must prepare in advance based on the tidings of the moment. 

5. Listening to the silence – There is a fair amount of lying that happens in an organization. Lying may not necessarily be wrong but the transcendental leader must see beyond the words and grasp the situation. A person might lie in order to escape the bully of another person.

6. Smelling the scentless – Transcendental leaders are strong in their fundamentals. They smell the signs before anyone else do and they act on intuition.

7. Understanding inarticulate needs – People are generally not very good at being articulate about their needs. This is true of customers and people working within the firm.

8. Surfacing courage from fear - Fear grips all people at a point but those who rise above them are the truly great ones.

9. Creating a positive future from fear – Seeing the positive in times of great negativity and fear is a difficult feat but the transcendental leaders succeed in doing just that.

10. Thinking the unthinkable – All innovation is the result of outrageous thinking, even preposterous thinking. Limitations of a period in life should not blind one to the possibilities of the future.

The foundation of transcendental leadership lies in people. It aims to work through people and work with people in order to achieve the organizational objectives as well as attain personal goals.

Comments Listing
Posted: 11/05/2012 00:54:04

Refer the paper on Transcendental Leadership by S.N. Chary, International Journal of Business Research, California, USA, 2007.

Posted: 17/01/2011 10:10:30


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