Introduction To The Way Of Leadership

Our leadership training focuses on ontological leadership, or leadership as a way of being – rather than as a set of practices, skills or acquired knowledge.

The world we currently live in is designed to produce followers, and mindless consumers.  Sheep.

If you would choose to be a shepherd and a leader rather than a sheep, you first need to understand how the trends of history have caused us to move further away from ourselves and from each other…

The Rise Of Agriculture

Early hunter-gatherers were supremely in tuned with their own bodies and the ecosystem, seasonal cycles, etc. in which they found themselves.

Agriculture led to the separation between the human and the world and our present disembodiment.


  • Personally
  • Socially
  • Intellectually
  • Ecologically

Modern Industrialism And Post Modern Corporatism

All of our ways of knowing are seen as “unproductive”.

We want to be able to recover our primary body.

To experience the totality of ourselves without judgment…

To rediscover ourselves with in the network of relations with others…

To see nature as subject rather than object…

To heal ourselves, repair our broken relationships and restore a healthy relationship to our world…

Our goal is to embody an idea.  To make ourselves greater than ourselves by aligning with that idea, and to dedicate our existence to that idea.

This leadership training can also be broken down into a simple four elements mode.

As we’re talking about the frameworks of this type of embodied or ontological leadership, or leadership as a way of being – we have four basic frameworks that we’re working from.

Those are:

  1. Embodiment
  2. Ethics
  3. Vision
  4. Execution


When we’re looking at embodiment, a good example of this is the story that most people would be familiar with is the idea of Jesus at the Sea Of Galilea where he met Peter and his initial disciples.

He told them “If you come with me, I will make you fishers of men.”  Now this is a kind of wild statement.  Something that would be crazy for a normal person to say.

“If you follow me and give up your lives, your jobs, your careers and give up everything that you’ve been doing – I will make you fishers of men.”

So we want to think about why they would actually follow him.

My guess is that if we take this outside the context of religion or dogmatic spiritual beliefs, the only reason someone would follow a person who made such a profound, crazy statement when they were strangers would be because of everything he was at the moment he asked.

It would have to have been because of his presence and everything that he embodied and his way of being at the moment he asked them to follow him and become fishers of men.

So that’s what we want to work on.  Embodying or being the type of person that will inspire, influence and create the kind of gravitas to pull not everyone, but the RIGHT kind of people towards you to accomplish your mission.


When speaking about ethics, we’re really talking about deep ecology.

This is really just the study of consequences, and we’ll go into further details about this later.

For now – ethics and deep ecology, the study of consequences and cause and effect are extremely important components of leadership.


There’s a word from ancient Pali language – “Tathagata”.  The direct translation from Pali to English is “Pathfinder”.  This is one of the titles or descriptives given to the historical Buddha.

The Tathagata or the Pathfinder because he was able to lay down or establish the path of practice which billions of people at this point in history have followed.

The train tracks have to be laid and obstacles removed and cars need the way to be paved before they can move forward.

So, we want to develop this idea of becoming a Pathfinder.  Not necessarily in an overtly spiritual or overly dogmatic religious sense, but by being a person who can lay the tracks for people to follow and remove the obstacles on the way of those tracks.

Finally, we’ve got execution.

Leadership boils down to results.  You’re not really exhibiting effective leadership if you’re not producing good results and one idea that you should keep in mind is that the meaning of your communication is the response that you get.

Now, that may sound unusual but what it really means is that you have your subjective idea of what you mean when you speak or do something, but – that’s not what it really means.

What your communication REALLY means is the result which you get from it.

For example, if I say “I want you to do this” or “I’m happy that you did this” or “I’m disappointed in that” and someone takes it a completely different way – THAT’s what it means.

That’s what your communication means, so you need to be mindful about the way you communicate with others so that the result that you’re getting from your communication is congruent with your intention in communicating.

So, those are the four general, chunked up bird’s eye view frameworks that we’re working from.

We’re going to drill down into other ideas and tenets of leadership in this section.

Main Model

Briefly, our main model is going to be:

  • Internal leadership
  • Winning hearts and minds
  • Leading people
  • Integrated, inter-connected leadership

Internal Leadership

Internal leadership is an internal process that has a long term focus.

Really we’re focusing on I/we mastery which is characterized by mastery of elements of your own area of expertise.

Whatever you’re good at or whatever you specialize in, you need to be able to MASTER that area.

This involves implementing skills and increasing your capacity to take creative action.

You also need to develop this internal way of being with superior skills in:

  • Developing partnerships
  • Setting agendas
  • Influencing others

Which is related to winning hearts and minds.

Leading People

This is an external, short-term focused process which involves the application of competencies and skills in new ways or for the first time.

Really what we’re talking about is innovation.

It includes presentation of plans to others and ground floor efforts for the people you’re offering services to.

This requires excellence around:

  • Strategy
  • Culture
  • Execution

Integrated, Inter-connected leadership

Finally we want to focus on integrated, inter-connected leadership.

This is an external process with a long-term focus that brings the focus to ongoing implications of collective and group action.

It’s where learning, practice and mastery come together to create an external process and is quadrant where growth and effectiveness is most noticeable.

Really, this is the air quadrant.  This quadrant or element brings transformation.

As a catalyst for dynamic change…

As a ripple effect creating concentric circles…

As a bridge across people’s differences…

With this area, you need to focus on developing excellence around group and process issues.  I highly recommend to really get a better idea of this level that you go back and review my video on the evolution of consciousness at

What we’re talking about here is being in that air quadrant of consciousness.

So, those are the main modules or the main nodes of our framework that we’re using.

We’re trying to develop internal leadership or leadership of yourself, leadership of others and integrated, inter-connected leadership, long-view leadership.

The Buddha On Leadership

Now, as you’ve probably figured out, I’m coming from a South Asian perspective with a lot of my training.

That doesn’t mean it’s the only way to train in the four elements of physical, social, mental and post-personal power.  It’s just what I’ve had the most access to because I’ve been living in Asia and South Asia for many years.

So, we’re going to look at what the Buddha a said through the lens of the four elements of Earth, Water, Fire, and Air.

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