Love is the Extreme Leader’s motivation, in my opinion, but let me add another element to the Extreme Leader’s experience: I call it the pursuit of the OS!M.
Extreme Leadership is intensely personal and intrinsically scary. You are striving to change the nature of things, and that’s a scary endeavor because you are asking yourself and others to give up the familiar. It is scary because you have no guarantee of a positive outcome. It is scary because you don’t know how you are personally going to be judged; your credibility is on the line. There is no way-absolutely no way, therefore-to participate in an authentic leadership experience without fear.
We’ve been conditioned to believe that fear is bad. And while it’s true that fear can save your life or keep you from doing something stupid, avoiding it can also keep you from doing something great, from learning something new, and from growing as a human being. Fear is a natural part of growth, and since growth, change and evolution are all on the Extreme Leader’s agenda, fear comes with the territory.
In the right context, therefore, your experience of fear (or exhilaration, for that matter) is your internal indicator that you’re moving in the right direction. That you really are leading, in other words. That scary/exhilarating experience is what I call the Oh Shit! Moment or OS!M.
To put it bluntly: if you’re using all the buzzwords and reading all the latest leadership books, and holding forth at every meeting on the latest management fads, but you’re not experiencing that visceral churning in your gut, and you’re not scaring yourself every day, and you’re not feeling that OhShit!Moment as regularly as clockwork, then you are not doing anything significant-let alone changing the world-and you are certainly not leading anyone else.
Had an OS!M lately? Tell us about it!