This is Why Personal Transformation Doesn’t Happen

I recently read a very good book on leadership by Danah Zohar.  The Quantum Leader outlines the impact of quantum physics paradigm on contemporary leadership.  It is indeed a total paradigm shift.  Paradigm as first used by the American philosopher Thomas Kuhn is:

“The whole perceptual, conceptual, emotional, and spiritual framework embracing our most deeply held, unconscious assumptions and values. It is the things we take for granted about any situation in life. Like a pair of glasses we wear to focus our visual world, our paradigm focuses the whole of what we take to be reality. It determines our expectations, frames the questions that we will ask, and structures our approach to what we do. Paradigms are so deep that they even determine what we see.”

If we want to see more transformation among leaders we need to address the crisis of paradigm.

Transformational Leadership

At the risk of getting trapped in different types of leadership theories and lingo, I want to refer to transformational leadership as the core requirement of the contemporary leader.  Transformational leadership is the awareness of the deepest parts of human beings being impacted on a daily basis at work.  It is the kind of leadership and leadership development that main focus is paradigm as stated above.

If leaders simply focus on improving or learning new skills the effort to transform the individual will go nowhere.  I find that a large part of the reason that leaders do not focus on this transformational journey is that they themselves are unaware of their own motivations as a leader.  True leadership is always self-leadership first.  Skipping over this character building part of leadership makes the leader vulnerable to competence failure.


The motivations of a leader is what determines the influence of the leader.  If the motivations are unexamined, the leader primarily leans on his or her competence to lead.  The ability to initiate, organise, decide and execute is not what makes a leader.  Neither is it the ability to get other people to do things in line with your vision.

Leading is the heart orientation towards another’s worth and potential and the desire to see them become the best they can be.  This is one-on-one leadership and follows from self-leadership.  The leader has the responsibility to be and teach others how to be.  Being before doing.