Love University with Dr. Alexander Avila

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July 30, 2020

Many people believe that leaders are born, not made.  Yet, the truth is that most people become leaders because they are chosen by the people who see them as leaders. Their followers see the leader as authentic and strong and capable of leading them in the right direction. In our uncertain and topsy-turvy world, we need more strong leaders, including in our families, to help guide us to a place of security, peace, and love. Our special guest, Natasha Todorovic-Cowan, owner of the groundbreaking Spiral Dynamics system, shared valuable insights how to be a capable and loving leader in uncertain times. Here are some of the nuggets of wisdom we learned from Natasha:


*Good leaders know who they can lead. A successful leader is only as good as the fit between themselves and the people they lead.  When a great leader moves to a new context—work, social, or political environment—they are only effective 50% of the time. The reason? Just because they were successful in one context (situation) doesn’t mean they will have equally good results in another.  It all depends on the match between themselves and the people they lead. Therefore, a good leader needs to be constantly aware of how their leadership style (sensitive, tough, etc.) fits with the people they are leading. If there is not a good fit, the leader needs to adjust their style or find new people to lead.


*Successful leaders are polite, caring, and empathetic  With a rise in incivility in business and work harassment incidents, it seems like the workplace has become a psychological war zone where people are trying to emotionally survive.  In fact, 70% of employees say they would rather see their boss fired than get a raise. Consequently, the quality leader knows how to be polite and caring—to demonstrate empathy and put themselves in the shoes of their employees. By doing so, they are able to understand their employee’s concerns and find ways to help them be more comfortable, confident, and productive.


*Great leaders tap into a person’s “Zone of Genius.” All of us have a special talent or ability, "a zone of genius," even if we don’t recognize it. You may be good with numbers, words, concepts, working with your hands, sales, or taking care of people. Whatever your talent is, your “Don” (from the phrase “Don Divino—gift from God) is what makes you uniquely “You” and can activate your passion for excellence. The intelligent leader knows how to discover and encourage each person’s unique gift or talent.  Although 75% of managers say they are satisfied with the talent utilization of their subordinates, only 30% of employees said they are fully using their abilities.  The key, therefore, is for the business leader to pinpoint their employee’s greatest strength and encourage them to develop it. Likewise, a parent can be a great leader by helping a child discover and nurture their gift or talent.  Also, parents need to find a balance between being a “Tiger mom or dad”—forcing discipline and practice on a child—and being too easy-going (permissive): spoiling the child and letting them do anything they want to do (play video games all day). Being a gentle and empathetic encourager of the child, while setting limits to instill discipline and hard work, is the best way for a parent to lead a child to fulfill their potential.


In difficult and fearful times, we need more strong leaders—in business, government, education, science, religion/spirituality—and especially in our own families and communities. You, too, can be a strong leader if you believe in a good cause and find like-minded people to join you—individuals you can help empower to achieve their fullest potential. It can be as simple as leading your friend out of a bad habit or relationship, leading your child toward good study habits, or leading your employees and associates to produce more and love the work they do. And, most importantly, you need to learn how to lead yourself—to find what motivates and inspires you, and keep yourself on the right track toward positivity, love, and contribution.  Lead yourself, and you can lead those around you, especially when you do it with love and compassion.