Previously I had introduced the book, As A Man Thinketh, by James Allen, as a book that provides some valuable concepts about effective leadership. For this entry I would like to focus on Chapter 4, Thought and Purpose.
We would probably all agree that a great leader is one who can effectively convey their vision to others and evoke a purposeful outcome. Many of us often assume Presidents and CEOs of organizations are supposed to be the visionary, strategically minded individuals who direct the efforts of the organization. In chapter four, Allen points out that, “until thought is linked with purpose, there is no intelligent accomplishment.” This is, indeed, what sets a leader apart from a dreamer, or one who may have wonderful ideas, but is without the capacity to turn thought into action. Leaders must not only see the big picture, but also be skilled in guiding actions necessary for those ideas to become reality.
Allen goes on to strengthen his point by explaining that vision with dedicated and concentrated direction achieves great results. I believe most of us, at one point or another, have known leaders who had the vision and were able to clearly define what the vision meant to the organization. They were skillful in utilizing subordinate leaders to delegate and guide their teams to successfully accomplish goals and tasks to fulfill the vision. I’m also sure many of you have known leaders who weren’t able to effectively share their vision. They were in essence a dreamer, who hoped their vision would somehow be filtered to and be carried out by others. These were, in fact, not true leaders.
Recently, economic downturn has caused many leaders to re-evaluate their strategic plans. Budget cuts and layoffs have become commonplace throughout many industries. I would venture to say that not many leaders prefer this course of action, or see it as part of a positive growth strategy. However, our environment continually changes and strategies must be modified. A leader must somehow be able to effectively convey the reasoning behind these changes to strategy without losing the support of their team or organization. Acting irrationally or “knee-jerk” reactions, may cause discomfort and resentment within others.
These are some of thoughts on chapter four in As A Man Thinketh. I invite you to click the link below to download your own copy of the book. Read it at your convenience and determine for yourself if it has value as a guide to qualities of leadership.