Q: When did you first get interested in leadership?
A: Watching leaders work has always fascinated me. It didn't matter if they were working in a high-profile position or one without any fanfare. As a child, I'd sometimes sit and watch people who were doing something very attentively. It could be watching someone write, watching someone have a conversation, or even watching someone resting. There was something about the way they managed their attention that captivated me. Later in my life, I recognized that attentiveness was one of the hallmarks of leadership.
Q: How did you realize that you wanted to contribute something to the way we currently think about leadership?
A: It seems like for every example of good leadership that's publicized, there are so many more examples of ineffective leadership. When I completed my master's degree in management with a focus in health leadership, I saw that there are so many leadership theories out there: leading from the front, leading from the back, the servant-leader, the leader-follower, the chameleon, and so on. So I asked myself a question: What defines a leader? Then I realized that we could not accurately define a leader without first accurately defining a human being. Leaders are human beings after all right? And that took me right back to a new framework for wellbeing I call The Three Bodies. The Three Bodies are a complete description of a human being. I knew then that I would have something to say about leadership.
Q: Do you think business schools, management schools, and executive leadership programs recognize the importance of understanding the person behind the leader?
A: The top programs have certainly recognized by now that leadership requires an appreciation of not only the situation we are facing, but of the resources that we bring to our situation. For example, they have already started integrating mindfulness training into their leadership development programs. That's a good step. But it's not enough.
If business schools and executive programs aspire to teach true leadership, they must start by developing programs modeled around the very human beings they are trying to teach. They must understand and explore their three bodies. An incomplete model leads to incomplete leadership, which is what we observe scattered across the political and business landscape.
Q: What else is needed other than mindfulness?
A: To truly understand ourselves, we have to understand not just our physical bodies, and not just our minds. We also have to recognize and manage our energetic systems. Most people do not know that there is such a thing as the energetic body. Even less do they suspect that the energetic body is within them, functioning right now. Forgetting about the energetic body because we can't see it is like forgetting about the V12 engine under the hood of a Lamborghini - you have to know how to open the hood! Modern science has not embraced this understanding because it doesn't know where the hood is.
Q: How does that connect with leadership? How can The Three Bodies redefine leadership?
A: The Three Bodies are a complete model of the human being, and so, a complete model of a leader as well. Every leader has these these three bodies: physical, mental, and energetic. You won't find them in a modern anatomy textbook, but given the right tools, you will find them within yourself.
When The Three Bodies are balanced, true leadership is spontaneously expressed. It's up to that person whether she/he wants to express it publicly or not, but it is already expressed within themselves. True leadership does not come from a place of need, want, or entitlement but from from a place of inner alignment among The Three Bodies. This is the new model of leadership.
Experience The Three Bodies for yourself. If you'd like to talk further about applying this new model of leadership within your organization, use the contact form on anoopkumar.com to reach Anoop Kumar.