Breakthrough Thinking for Leaders

Breakthrough Thinking for Leaders

Innovative and creative thinking are paramount for leaders to solve the global and structural problems we face today. In my experience wisdom is the master key to breakthrough thinking. It profoundly changes our mindset.

Changing any status quo

It is a well-known fact that trying to change the status quo in any organization or community is a real challenge. Experienced leaders know that any number of internal and external factors play a role, from cultural traditions and personal relationships to economic interests and public policies.

Nevertheless, it is also true that clueless, unimaginative, and poorly motivated leaders will never be able to inspire their stakeholders to change anything, no matter how urgent the situation is. Therefore, the first thing we need to examine is our own leadership mindset.

How (un)orthodox, (un)creative, and (un)inspiring is our thinking? In my experience, very soon you will discover that there is room for improvement both in our minds and hearts.

You will notice that we all have cognitive ‘prisons’ and emotional ‘glass ceilings' blocking our inspirational leadership development in our careers and even in our private lives. Let’s look at two examples.

Cognitive ‘prisons’

No doubt you have the power to create your own belief system. You don’t have to believe what others want you to believe and you can think, unthink and rethink whatever you consider best.

But if you never question your beliefs or if you never check whether they are still true or not, you may end up creating an intellectual box or even cognitive prison. A cognitive prison is a rigid mindset not open to any criticism, reason, or different perspectives. This mindset may give you the impression its grip on you is firm as it represents ‘the truth’ and no further investigations are necessary.

But this is only an illusion. The walls of any cognitive prison can always be lifted by self-reflection, introspection, wondering, and asking profound questions. These skills are basic wisdom skills and they are vital for any leader.

For instance, if you believe wisdom is for philosophers and it has no practical value for corporate leaders, you will shoot yourself in the foot. You will distance yourself from the very skills enabling you to break through the walls this belief is creating in your mindset.

Emotional glass ceilings and class ceilings

The same is true for our emotional ‘system’. We all know about social glass ceilings for women and minorities and the unacceptable personal and social impact these invisible walls have on their lives.

But we need to realize there can be similar barriers in the mindset of all of us, such as emotional glass and social class ceilings, sustained by the way we feel about ourselves and other people. For instance, animosity, disrespect, disdain, jealousy, envy, ridicule, bigotry, arrogance, or superiority, are infamous emotional glass and social class ceiling builders for all of us. They may also be hard to crack.

These feelings will seriously limit a leader’s capacity to grow. As long as they are part of a leader’s mindset, the generation of breakthrough thinking will be obstructed.

So, what is it you can do to prevent or change this?

Wisdom is the master key

First, we all know that we cannot solve structural problems with the same mindset that created them in the first place. So, to transcend our current thinking and feeling, self-reflection by introspection is paramount at a much deeper level than many leaders are used to.

Introspection is an essential wisdom skill and for some leaders, it may take a profound change in their self-assessment toolkit. Our program will clearly explain how this can be done.

Second, we need to create a deeper-level balance between our heart and mind. We cannot let our intellectual mind dominate or dictate the emotions of our heart, and vice versa.

This deeper-level inner balance is a prerequisite for any wisdom to emerge because wisdom requires both intellect and compassion. Intellect without compassion is a curse as all of us can witness in the world today. More technology is not going to ‘save’ us as many seem to believe unless we also grow more compassion and wisdom to apply innovations wisely and prevent power abuse.

This step will take a profound change in the way many leaders tend to operate. It will have an impact on global financial-economic structures and social-cultural belief systems. Our program will show you how to create this inner balance.

Third, for structural breakthrough thinking to happen, leaders may need a profound change or expansion in their current mindset.

If you turn inwards and go deep enough, you’ll find that the greatest source of inner wisdom and pure creative energy is present in the non-physical heart or spiritual center of our being.

The word spiritual is deliberately chosen and not meant in any religious context. The concept of a spiritual center of our being is not new in any way (whatever we call it, such as soul, atman, spirit, or higher self). But the observation that all leaders are able to lead from the inside out inspired by the center of their being is not a common belief.

This may or may not require a profound shift in mindset regarding the concept of our human makeup and perspectives on spirituality. Our program will elaborate on this aspect as well.

Wisdom is the master key to breakthrough thinking for leaders as it helps liberating our mind from cognitive prisons and our heart with cracking emotional glass (or social class) ceilings, where necessary.

That’s why we have listed this aspect in our top-three of benefits for you on completion of your program. Wisdom is the #1 leadership quality for all leaders, globally, today and in the next decades. Real breakthrough thinking is one reason why more wisdom is essential for leaders.

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Author: Daniel Le Gras
Date: January 2023
Picture: ArtTower / Pixabay

Permission to download or copy this article is granted for private use only.
Please cite this article as: Le Gras, D. (2023). Breakthrough Thinking For Leaders. Institute for Governance & Leadership, Amersfoort, The Netherlands.