What is the point of the journey? Why do we have to take a journey?
And why is it that so often we start the journey intending to somehow
change the world, yet we rarely do, but instead change ourselves?
I could only think of one answer: the actual point of the journey
was to grow up, to mature. We must gain not just knowledge, but wisdom.
Ultimately, the goal is to become a wise elder.
Since this was to be a book about leadership, I began by researching
the literature on leadership maturity. I found, however, that, there
was very little to explore. Most of the many books I read on leadership
consisted of one or two chapters that listed leadership attributes
(behaviors leading to meaningful action) and nine chapters on management
(behaviors leading to effective action). As the leadership attributes
seemed to fit Hitler and Gandhi equally well, such lists did not strike
me as terribly useful. They certainly did not answer the questions
I had about grown-up leadership.
For the most part, the assumption seemed to be that leadership
capability was kind of a preset switching mechanism; either your switch
was set to “on” or it wasn’t. No one asked why or
how that switch was activated. And even the books that purported to
discuss leadership development never offered a maturity model, or
described any kind of developmental progression that a thoughtful
leader could expect to experience. I assumed I was just missing the
real stuff and kept reading and asking colleagues in the field until
I realized: there was almost no literature to be found on leadership
In fact, while there is enormous attention paid to leadership
development, we have almost no public conversation in our society
about the end point — mature, “developed” leadership.
Realizing that there were no guidelines for what constitutes mature
leadership and that I would have to invent some was entering the Pit
for me – and discovering the Monsters that hid there. While the
pit may sound like a scary place, it’s actually a great opportunity
to explore your motivations, change or reverse course, invent something
new and/or learn a great deal about yourself or your organization.