Posted in change, leadership

Fundamental State of Leadership

When we enter the fundamental state of leadership (as discussed in yesterday’s post), we are operating at a peak level. We can get fatigued and will return to the normal state. Yet, though it is difficult to stay in the fundamental state of leadership, it can be renewing. The normal state leads to a loss of energy and ultimately slow death. When you leave your comfort zone and seek deep change, you can experience a renewal in many areas of your life – relationship at home, at work, with friends, professionally. “It is our hypocrisy and self-focus that drains us. When we become purpose-centered, internally directed, other-focused, and externally open, we discover energy we didn’t know we had.”

As a catalyst of change, you learn that you are not in control. For someone in a position of authority, being a catalyst seems like a weak role in which one simply gives up power. In fact, it is a powerful role in which we recognize the truth that we cannot control transformation, no matter what formal power we have. Entering the fundamental state of leadership requires that we change ourselves. We care for the vision and ourselves more than we could have imagined. This causes you to live in more trusting relationships and to join with others in building the bridge as you walk on it.

Inside each of us are two unconscious systems: one broadcasts implicit messages and one receives implicit messages. At all times, we communicate who we are. When we enter the fundamental state of leadership, our message changes. Without words, we communicate that we have become more purpose-centered, internally directed, externally open, and other-focused. Others respond to this change in us.

When we take time to integrate action and reflection, we begin to behave differently…As we become more purpose-centered, internally directed, other-focused, and externally open, we more fully integrate who we are with what we are doing. At this point, what we are doing enlarges our best self, and our best self enlarges what we are doing.

“What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him. What he needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost, but the call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him.” – Victor Frankl (1963)

Reference: Quinn, Robert E. (2004). Building the Bridge As You Walk On It: A Guide for Leading Change. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishing, Co.


For a list of Sheila’s books, check out


Dr. Sheila Embry is a govie, author, pracademician, sister, aunt, cousin, and friend who loves to read, write, think, and laugh. Many of her blog postings are summaries or excerpts of books that she read and wants to share to encourage others. An author with more than 25 years experience within the legislative and executive branches of the U. S. federal government holding 3 accredited degrees: Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership, Master of Arts in Human Resources Development, and Baccalaureate of Business Administration, she believes in continuing learning both on and off the job. She has been recognized with multiple professional and writing awards for her peer-reviewed, publications. Click the bibliography page above for a listing of all the publications.

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