The Four Foundations of Great Leadership

Blog Post Breakthrough Results

An Amazon book search on Leadership will give you 179,399 results. Obviously, leadership is important or so many books wouldn’t have been written on the subject. I’ve read some leadership books, and they mostly share what you should or shouldn’t do to be an effective leader.

This blog is not another “how to” for leadership.

Nine years ago, I was interviewing an EVP of Sales for a $25B company, who had hired us to create and deliver a leadership program for 45 senior leaders in his sales organization.

I asked him why he’s doing this. He recounted a conversation about Leadership he had with Paul O’Neil, former Chairman and CEO of Alcoa and Treasury Secretary of the United States. Paul told him that the only Colleges that teach Leadership are the four United States Military Academies. Then he said, “if you want great leaders, you will have to develop them.”

I asked the EVP how would we know our program is effective. His answer was, “I’ll know.” Not what I was looking for. Now I understand his response. He would know by observing who people were being as leaders, not what they were doing.

The great Mystery of Leadership is that Leadership is about who you are being, not what you are doing.

In this blog, I’ll introduce you to the Four Foundations of Great Leadership.

The Four Foundations Leadership model is the result of a team of people doing eight years of research into leadership and the development of a one-semester leadership course that actually creates leaders. The course is being taught at the US Air Force Academy, as well as several other Universities, with a high degree of success.

The Four Foundations of A Great Personal Life, Great Leadership and a Great Organization by Werner Erhard and Michael Jensen

1. Authenticity: Being and acting consistently with who you hold yourself out to be for others, and who you hold yourself to be for yourself. When leading, being authentic leaves you grounded, and able to be straight without using force.
2. Being Cause In the Matter of Everything In Your Life: Being Cause in the Matter is a stand you take for yourself and life – and acting from that stand. It leaves you with power. You are never a victim.
3. Being Committed to Something Bigger than Oneself: Source of the serene passion (charisma) required to lead and to develop others as leaders, and the source of persistence (joy in the labor of) when the path gets tough.
4. Integrity (in our model a positive phenomenon):
 Being whole and complete-achieved by “honoring one’s word” (creates workability, develops trust).
While these four foundations might seem relatively simple, I assure you they are not. These are foundations, which like the foundation of a home, must be sound in order for the home to function properly.

Do you want to be a great leader? Take these four foundations and incorporate them into your life.
• Read them every morning.
• Be in an inquirer as to how you are living these foundations.
• Look for what you can do each day to tend to these foundations.
• When you have a crack in the foundation, get to work on it.

Being a Great Leader is not about doing… it is all about who you are being.

For more information about the Four Foundations click here.

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