The New Leadership Is A Sacred Calling

You can greatly improve your job and career performance when you embrace leadership as a sacred calling.

The global marketplace is creating historic changes in human circumstances as broad and deep as those originated by the Industrial Revolution. But one significant change that observers are overlooking involves leadership.

From the outset of the Industrial Revolution, order-giving has been the standard of leadership. The word “order” comes from the Latin root meaning to arrange threads in a woof. In the Industrial Revolution’s early years, workers were “ordered” or ranked like threads in a woof of textile production lines.

But globalization is creating a need for new leadership. Instead of ordering people to go from A to B, the new leadership has people want to go from A to B.

This simple, even simplistic, difference illuminates an enormous leadership opportunity. Clearly, people who “want to” are more competitive than people who are simply responding to orders, given their skills are commensurate. Your arousing want-to in others can be accomplished most effectively when you see your leadership as a sacred activity.

Sacred is commonly defined as being devoted or dedicated to a deity or some religious purpose. But the emergence of the global marketplace has necessitated a new meaning for the sacred. The sacred I speak of is not connected to any principle exclusive to a particular denominational religion. If it were, it could not be applied universally throughout the global market’s interplay of many languages, cultures, and religions. Instead, the sacred aspect of leadership is based on the undeniable fact that all humans everywhere are interconnected through their relationships in profound, practical ways. The sacred flows from the wellsprings of those deep, human relationships.

Paradoxically, this “new” leadership has been manifested since time in memorial. After all, when people needed to accomplish great things, a leader had to first gather them together and speak from the heart. In that gathering, in that speaking, in that sharing something truly sacred was established.

To examine the sacred, we must understand the stuff that leaders’ activities must be made of: results. If you’re not getting results, you won’t be a leader for long. Results come in countless forms and functions. But one thing all results share is they are the outcomes of the relationships people engender to take action.

The word “relationship” comes from a Latin root meaning to “carry back.” To be involved in a human relationships is to both give and get. Such relationships are best realized in leadership when you engage in what I call the Leadership Imperative. The Imperative states: “I will lead others in such a way that we together not only accomplish our needed results but we grow professionally and personally.”

The Leadership Imperative is the rough, organizational equivalent of the Golden Rule that most religions, in one form or another, urge; but don’t confuse it with a guide for conduct exclusively; it’s also a way of getting great organizational results. When people understand that your leadership will improve their lives, their jobs and their careers, you’ll establish a sacred bond with them, and they’ll be more likely to be motivated to accomplish extraordinary things for you.

(An important tool for actualizing the Leadership Imperative is a methodology I’ve been teaching to leaders worldwide for nearly a quarter of a century. See my website for my information on the Leadership Talk.)

In our time, order leadership has held sway in all sectors of business and government. However, order leadership has nothing sacred to offer. Orders are sent, orders carried out or not. Deep, human, “sacred” connections are superfluous, even antithetical, to giving orders. And because order leadership can’t get the consistently great results that the new leadership triggers, the order way of leadership is destined for history’s scrap heap.

Don’t be put off or discouraged if you can’t immediately see the sacred in your leadership today. First, align your words and actions to conform to the Leadership Imperative. When you do, you’ll see the sacred in the very practical necessities of your daily life. It’s been there all along, waiting for you to find it and realize it. You may be in a bureaucracy that at first blush seems to have nothing to do with the sacred. But I submit that no matter what organization you’re in, what job you hold, you’ll get the best results when you work to manifest the sacred in your leadership. In fact, the sacred is the true reality of what you do, where you do it.

When you’re realizing the sacred calling of the Leadership Imperative, everyone you encounter, every challenge you face, is invested with special meaning that can boost results.

The exigencies of the global economy are demanding a change in the standard of leadership. Your understanding and realizing the new leadership but also its sacred dimensions will notably advance your job and career performance.

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2006 © The Filson Leadership Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

The author of 23 books, Brent Filson’s recent books are, THE LEADERSHIP TALK: THE GREATEST LEADERSHIP TOOL and 101 WAYS TO GIVE GREAT LEADERSHIP TALKS. He is founder and president of The Filson Leadership Group, Inc. – and for more than 21 years has been helping leaders of top companies worldwide get audacious results. Sign up for his free leadership e-zine and get a free white paper: “49 Ways To Turn Action Into Results,” at

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