(Since the beginning of her career, Kathy Adams has worked continually to expand her role as a leader and educator in the health care field. In that work, as well as in her leadership roles in Phoenix, where she helps to educate and guide others, she has had many occasions to think about what makes an effective leader. For this issue of Phoenix Rising, she brought her questions to the interview with Samuel, and he took the opportunity to expand on his ideas about leadership in both worldly and spiritual matters. )
Kathy: How is leadership related to the type of healing that is needed in the world at this time?
When people think of healing, a lot of times they think of putting a Band-Aid on top of a cut that will help it heal, but the sort of healing that I believe you’re asking about, and which I talk about, is healing into wholeness. The first—a Band-Aid over the cut—tends to be what mass consciousness thinks of as leadership, something that helps an organization move forward. But I see leadership as a piece of a much larger function of wholeness. Leadership is the act of allowing your highest function to have an effect in those ways that are needed at that time. Leadership fulfills the greater purpose of the activity at the time, of the people you are with at the moment, of the behaviors that are called for at the time—you fill in the blank—of what is needed to fulfill what you are and what you are here to do.
Kathy: Would the type of leadership that Guardians offer be different than the leadership needed within mass consciousness?
No and yes. No, it’s not different than what the world as a whole needs on a day-to-day basis. Yes, it’s a whole lot more than what the world is referring to when it talks about leaders. Leadership, as I refer to it, incorporates leading others in a small-scale event, a work or play situation, but it’s based on leadership, through spirit, of the human-soul connection.
Kathy: Would you describe the characteristics of each type of leadership that you’re talking about?
Day-to-day leadership, which is a part of what you’re here for, involves first knowing yourself, having an understanding of your personal ego needs. And remember, ego isn’t a bad thing. Second, having a clear understanding of the vision of the particular group you are working with, knowing what is needed to fulfill that vision, and balanced with—the third thing—knowing the needs and abilities of those you are working with.
For example, you know that you need to pick up garbage along the side of the road, but you also know that everybody in your group is allergic to garbage. So what are you going to do? It’s just as important to know what the group can’t do to fulfill the vision as what they can do. You also need to know who is really good at seeing a big picture, who is really good at completions, who is really good at separating through all of the trash and categorizing it. You need to know what the particular talents are and how those fit together. All of those things are necessary to fit what you have with what is needed. As a general statement, that’s what’s required in everyday, worldly leadership.
Paula: A quick clarifying question: when you say “Know what your ego needs are,” do you mean something like, “in order to do a good job and feel secure about the job, I need to be able to plan well ahead, because I don’t do well in crisis situations.”? Is that the kind of ego thing you’re talking about?
That is the result of knowing your ego needs. In this particular case, ego is the way that you put yourself into the world. It’s the means by which you function in the world. For some people that is all based on their fear, so they’ve got to know what those fears are.
[To Kathy] There was a time when Paula was horrified about talking in front of groups, and yet she knew that was a part of her work, her leadership in Phoenix as well as her greater work in the world. She had to be able to talk to people, to think on her feet and come up with a conversation, to build a bridge between herself and others. So knowing that her ego at the time was based in fear, she decided that she was going to move beyond that. She actually got herself involved with organizations that forced her to learn how to be out there in front of others and talk to them so that it would not be a detriment, and would be, well, if not her favorite thing to do, certainly something she was not afraid to do.
Paula: It was something I didn’t duck anymore after I was in Toastmasters.
That’s right. That is to say that she knew what her ego could and couldn’t do, and she also knew that, in a larger picture, this was something she was going to need in order to lead, even on a higher, spiritual level. And so, knowing what her ego needed, what her ego was doing, what her ego could do, she purposefully went out to solve what was a difficulty, so that that difficulty would not hinder her leadership abilities.
Most people think of ego as something that comes up when someone makes other people look bad and themselves look good, and that’s not at all what I’m referring to. I’m referring to the means by which you put yourself into the world. You put yourself into the world confidently, or you put yourself into the world tentatively, fearfully. You see others as partners with you, or you see others as a threat to you. It’s the means by which you deal with them: you can manipulate negatively and try to have power over them and be controlling, or you let them control you. These are the kinds of ego things that you must know in order to lead effectively.
The second kind of leadership, which is spiritual leadership, has more to do with why you are here, and involves a leadership of the spiritual body. What is the day-to-day world’s access to the spiritual body?
Kathy: The emotions?
Exactly. Your emotions are signposts to what is and isn’t working for you, and they become the means by which a spiritual leader is able to touch in and give what is needed to bring the healing and wholeness to a situation, to rally those with whom they are working, to bring about change when it is needed. When you are a spiritual leader, you look at the people you are dealing with and, rather than looking at how their gifts and talents fit in to the larger picture—even though that’s something you look at later—instead, the first thing that you look at is what the emotional signals are, because that tells you about the confidence levels of those who are going to be working together.
Now, emotions are something that I say repeatedly should not be the means by which you should judge yourself and your activities. Why am I saying that the spiritual leader looks at the emotional statements being made?
David: It may not be the way you should judge yourself, but it’s the way many people do. They respond on the basis of their emotions, even though perhaps they shouldn’t, so you need to take that into account.
Yes. Very good.
Kathy: It also gives you an idea of the beliefs that are involved in the whole process that could be helping or hindering the outcome.
When I talk to you, what’s the first thing I usually say? Very often it’s, “How are you doing?” or “Give me a report on how you’re doing.” What I want to hear about is what you are feeling, how you think you are doing. You may not think that you’re telling me what you’re feeling, but the way that you express how you are doing reveals what you are feeling, what’s going on emotionally. So when you say, “I’m doing great. Things are flowing well. I’m grateful for things. I’m all right,” that tells me that you’re in an emotionally strong place, even if that is contraindicated by things going on in your life, and you’re really just holding on by your fingernails. But that indicates to me that you know that in the larger picture things are good, and speaks to me of an emotional strength that can be worked with, rather than needing to be fixed, which would be more obvious if you said “Well, everything is going crazy right now. Life is chaos. I find myself being angry a lot.” The spiritual leader looks at, first and foremost and always, the emotional temperature of those that they are working with, and does that in order to meet the sometimes unspoken needs that direct all physical-world activity.
So, to sum up, an everyday leader needs to help a person or a group create a completion. A spiritual leader needs to help a person or group see what the completion is and know themselves capable of doing what is needed. So the spiritual leader helps you know it can be done, and the everyday leader helps you do it.
Kathy: So, the best leadership needs to be a combination of them both.
Yes, because a spiritual leader is still in this world, and because of the Fusion of Masculine and Feminine Energy, leadership needs the feminine wisdom/emotional/spiritual awareness to be completed by in-the-world, physical awareness of getting it done—action.
Kathy: What are some of the main things that keep Guardians from being strong leaders, both spiritually and in everyday leadership?
Even without talking about leadership attributes specifically, I can say that the first thing that gets in a Guardian’s way is fear—somewhere in that process—fear that they will fail in something that is vitally important. “Guardian” implies awakened or activated, those who know that they are Guardians. And the fear that they will not live up to their Guardianship very often keeps them from stepping forward lest they fail. Every fiber of your being knows it’s the most important thing that you can do, but at the same time you also know that you’re in the real world and there’s any number of ways to fail. So you think it’s better to just let the world happen to you and deal with what comes up instead of actively going out and facing things, because you might do something wrong that could make it all worthless.
Now, what’s the problem with that sort of thinking? Well, it’s not accurate; that’s the problem with it. Across the board it is the most common difficulty that Guardians deal with: the human need to succeed contradicted by the human awareness that failure is “death.”
Looking at that, it’s easy to see how in everyday leadership fear of failure shows up as a fear of stepping out front, thus becoming the most common way that day-to-day leadership fails. If you’re afraid to put yourself out there and take action, you’re not going to lead. As to spiritual leadership: your fear of harming your destiny, not doing what you’re here to do, causes you to let life happen to you, which means you won’t be getting experiences that bring you the wisdom to overcome that very thing, that fear, and poof!—your spiritual leadership then does not have an outlet. So if fear runs your life, it inhibits both your everyday leadership and your spiritual leadership.
So we’ve recognized that fear tends to be the initial difficulty that keeps leadership action from happening on an everyday, spiritual level. Now let’s move it a step farther away; let’s talk about those who have, for whatever reason, found themselves in a place of leadership. As a for-instance, you have said, “I would like to serve, and I will be an announcer,” or “an Assistant,” or be on the Leadership team itself to help run a committee or task force, or one of the many other positions you can volunteer for, never realizing that it was going to make you a leader instead of a server. But, lo and behold, there you are in a place of leadership. Or, on an everyday level, you are standing in the grocery store, minding your own business, checking out the beverage aisle, and someone says to you “What do you think about this product?” All of a sudden you realize that somebody’s listening to your opinion. The fact of it is, that happens to Guardians all the time. You sort of put out this glow that says, I’m confident, even though your inner self says, No, I’m not. What do you do when you find yourself in that situation? All right, spiritually speaking, the Guardian is choosing to serve and finds himself or herself in a place of “Oh my gosh, what am I going to do? Leadership is expected of me in this situation. What do I need to do to be able to look like I know what I’m doing? I’m suddenly the head of this committee. What do I need to do?”
The first thing that you want to do is remember the number-one thing that all humans need, the number-one motivation for all of their actions. And what is that?
Yes. And you want to balance that with what is the across-the-board, number-one thing that’s going to get in the way of action.
You’re right, just as we discussed a few moments ago. So you put those together: people need recognition; people feel fear. Do you want to recognize the fear? No, you want to recognize their strengths so that it takes away the power of that fear. If you recognize the fear—”Oh, I know you’re so afraid of this, and you should be because it is a really scary thing,” what happens?
Paula: You add energy to it.
That’s right! What you want to do instead is remind them of the many ways that they have already done this before; remind them that simply being here at this place and at this time speaks of successes in so many ways, and these are the very skills they need to do this job and that you have confidence in them. All of the things you do or say amplify the positive rather than giving energy to the fear, the negative. Notice that you haven’t even mentioned, “Here’s what your skills and gifts are,” because amplifying the positive is going to bring up their skills and gifts. You don’t have to take a look at everybody and run through a video of their life and say, “Hmm, you’re good at—I hope I’m not wrong with this one—organized thinking,” because when you are letting them know, “You’ve done this before. Here is the way that this shows up in your life,” they’re going to recognize the skill that brought them there.
What if they don’t recognize it? You want to help them recognize it, because remember, it is so much more powerful, so much more likely to stick, if David figures out what the gift is than if you tell him. If you tell him what his gift is, he doesn’t have to believe you, but when on his own he sees the pattern, it’s there for life. (Or, in David’s case, until he figures out a way to totally disprove it. [To David] Sorry, love.)
And you may notice that these activities are pretty much the same at this level for both the spiritual leader and the everyday leader. These are the things that help open the door and make it easier work in both arenas. One of the ways that you help the people that you’re working with figure out what it is they do best is to help them think it through in a directed way that gives them the answer without allowing them to avoid seeing it.
And you will recognize the way to do this as I give you this example; you will recognize it because I use it all the time. Give me a leadership situation.
Kathy: Someone is in charge of putting on an event.
And they’re not certain they can do it; they’re not certain that they know people who can be helpful; they don’t know exactly what to do. So, you don’t want to say, “Have you ever had this fear before?” You want to say, “Is there something you do every day that brings you a whole lot of pleasure? Think of something you do that you enjoy tremendously.” Or, “What is something you’ve done in the past week that you’d really like to do again?”
Now, once they’ve thought of one thing, have them expand that from “What did you enjoy today?” to “What did you enjoy this week?” or this month, or over a several-month period, or a several-week period, because what you’re going to do now is ask them to tell you what all those things they enjoyed have in common, and then you’re going to help them weave that into how those activities work with what’s needed now. “This seems to be what I really enjoy,” so what sort of skill does that indicate? How does that skill help in planning an event? Hopefully, before this point, they’ve already recognized their strengths and said, “Oh, that is something I’m good at.” Once they see one skill, they’re going to be able to find others.
That kind of very specific process is really pretty easy when you’re putting on a spiritual event, because your volunteers are people who want it to succeed, who would be saying “Oh, let’s make this the best New Year’s Eve event there ever has been, because it’s going to help the world in a positive way,” as opposed to maybe a work situation where people may not necessarily be so motivated, are not really excited about it, and are amplifying their fear of it, in which the event is going to help them get their paycheck, but that’s it, and that’s all the motivation there is.
Now, Kathy, you are particularly good at this one: In your work situation you compliment a strength. “You seem to be really good at writing a very clear report. Thank you for that.” Use your compliments as a means of directing attention to what they’re good at. Or you can also use it to direct them to what you don’t want them to do: “I’m so glad that you’re looking in this direction, because it’s going to be so much more effective.” And again, you’re using gratitude as a means of shifting their perspective.
However, the bottom line is you cannot go anywhere if you don’t know where you’re going, and because of that, you’ve got to have vision.
Kathy: For both types of leadership?
For both types of leadership. In the day-to-day leadership the vision is all about the goals required to reach the destination—that’s the vision. In spiritual leadership, it’s about keeping the destination clear, fulfilling the destination. So in day-to-day leadership it’s about “This week let’s accomplish this much.” In spiritual leadership, it’s about “Look, you’re already expressing this final product.”
Kathy: Would both types of leadership require a loving connection?
Actually, day-to-day leadership doesn’t require a loving connection, but it’s made easier if there is a loving connection. With spiritual leadership, the leadership is the result of the function of love; love creates unity, and in spiritual function that’s how things get done. In day-to-day function, it helps but it’s not required.
Kathy: It sounds like the best way to go is to do both at the same time. Is that right?
Well, of course I would say that’s right.
Kathy: But I guess it’s not really happening in the world these days.
Yet. But certainly one can be the means to the other. Even if, in day-to-day leadership, the world is not looking at spiritual leadership at all, a spiritual filter on day-to-day leadership can work to direct the day-to-day function toward a more spiritual fulfillment. Take the example of building a cathedral, which in this case is sort of a higher version of day-to-day leadership because you’ve got people who are laying bricks, and you’ve got people who are directing the building of the cathedral. Let’s raise it up a notch; Would you rather build a cathedral or be a part of creating a means by which individuals are going to be able to connect with Source in a better way? Ultimately, that is what a cathedral is really for, but you’re moving beyond the sticks and stones and into its greater purpose. And, you can use the sticks and stones as a part of moving toward that greater purpose.
Kathy: So, in looking at any leadership endeavor, how would you make sure both aspects of leadership are covered?
If one is the way you reach the destination and the other one is the focus of the destination throughout the way, then the combination of the two might be remembering that every piece has a greater purpose, every piece is a reflection of the ultimate vision.
Now, what do you do when there are people who don’t care about the greater purpose? Or, conversely, what do you do if there are people who only care about the greater purpose, and are too impatient for the day-to-day work?
Kathy: That’s where you have to use both types of leadership.
That’s right. That’s where you’ve got to use both types of leadership, where you’ve got to recognize that this person really isn’t going to be helpful for anything other than getting these first couple of steps done, because they just care nothing about the completion. Or, another person isn’t going to be so good at working through the step-by-step process. Are you, as a leader, responsible for figuring out how to extend the patience of the person who only cares about the end and not the way you get there? Not unless that impatience is keeping the project from moving. And, of course, impatience is not the only thing that will keep it from moving. It might be some-body’s fear that has made them so controlling nothing can keep going, or it might be somebody’s irresponsibility, their inability to commit to day-to-day function, and so they’re not holding up their end of it. Or many other things like that.
What are you going to do when a vital piece of the operation is held up because one or two people aren’t moving beyond the step they’re at in the process? And I ask this because this is one of the things that makes people not want to be leaders. Are you ready for this answer? I think it might surprise you. You ignore the problem. You act like they are doing what’s needed. Obviously, there does come a point where, with some people, that’s not going to be effective. But there are situations in which you ignore their stick-in-the-mudness, and as time goes by they unravel themselves, get caught up in the momentum of the rest of the project, shake themselves out of their stupor and keep moving.
Of course, sometimes that doesn’t happen. Sometimes they really are a major holdup, and what you do in that case is look to see what can be done without them. Is everyone else stuck in that same place? If so, maybe you need to shift the direction you’ve chosen. But if there’s just the one person stuck in the mud, then take a look to see what you can do to move around them. For instance, you say, “I recognize that you don’t want to go any further than this, but the other four people on the team are ready to move forward. So we’re going to get on with it, and come back to you later to see if there’s a way that your skills can be used at that point without causing you a problem,” or something to that effect.
A leader strengthens the weakest link, but the leader must be careful not to cater to the weakest link, and sometimes simply acting as if it’s not weak is enough.
Paula: Another type of difficult leadership situation is when there’s a very strong personality who has their own competing vision of how things should be done.
Do you mean a strong personality or a squeaky wheel?
Paula: Strong personality. If you try to push someone like that into a different perspective, they tend to push back, and you can get a really intense dynamic going that diverts everybody away from the project and onto the personality issues.
Do you remember when Hapi [EarthLight’s dog] first came into their household and I made the comment that now I’d be using a lot of puppy-training metaphors? Well, here comes one.
Hapi has two essential drives which are much the same as most people have. One of them is to be loved and accepted and approved of by those who are in charge of what he needs for security. The human version of that is the person who writes your paycheck or who fills your heart with love and acceptance, or whatever the situation happens to be at the time. And the other drive that Hapi has is the need to be in charge of getting the security, or happiness, or whatever. So, there is the need to please in order to ensure that it keeps coming, but going right alongside of it is, “the time is going to come when I am in charge and able to write my own paycheck,” or “I won’t need you to help me feel good about myself.” In some cases, that creates a confrontational personality, because they are more driven by the need to control what they get than to enjoy what they get. In some people, it creates a personality that is not confrontational, but one that wants to please in order to get what they want. You have phrases for this: being “manipulative,” or sucking up. Either way, it’s based on the need to have an unimpeded flow of what they think they need at the time. So let’s look at that.
Spiritually speaking, the answer lies in the common vision. How can this confrontational person feel that the common vision is being met? How does this fit with what is in agreement here? Are we trying to put a whole new vision into place? If so, why? Or is there misunderstanding about the vision, or an inability to get what you need from this vision? And in any of those cases, the leader works it out with the person so that that confrontation isn’t needed. And keep in mind, there are those—especially among the Guardianship, because Guardians are strong personalities—who think that they’re doing what they should be doing by negative, squeaky-wheel behavior, and they need to be told that that really isn’t helpful.
Kathy: If you could suggest one change for world leaders today, what would it be?
What world leaders need is world vision. You are the leader of only a country if your vision does not go further than how to advance the agenda of your country. But being a world leader implies a recognition of working with others in the world—other governments, other countries—and that requires a single vision. So Western countries’ vision of what the world should be like is not going to have too much appeal for the Eastern countries. Because of that, the West is going to be using threats of power and of taking away what the Eastern countries want in order to have one agenda win over the other—unless there is a common vision. “How can what we do work with what you do to bring about this thing we are both wishing for?” And the question is, what is a broad enough vision to be a world vision? That is what must be figured out.
Is there a world vision? Between you and me and all of the readers, at this time, there isn’t. It would be nice to say, for instance, “world peace,” but peace means something different to different cultures. It would be nice to say “love for all of humanity,” but that again shows up in different ways in different cultures. That’s why relief from pain tends to be the vision that has been running the world for so long: “we’ll inflict pain and then take it away so that you will think that you are free and happy.”
Kathy: So, by focusing only on the negative, we’re creating more of it?
Yes. And the reason that I couldn’t give you an answer to what world leaders need to have as a common vision is that the direction I want is spiritual leadership, and what world leaders don’t want is spiritual leadership. They want temporal leadership, mundane leadership, and sometimes they mistake power for leadership, and leadership for power.
David: I’m thinking we have a national leader who wants to be a world ruler.
Yes, you do.
Kathy: So are you saying the most likely way to create one vision for the world is to have a spiritual focus?
Yes, I am, but right now world leaders, political leaders, are looking for power, and power shows up by “rule over” instead of “rule with.”
Kathy: Then we’ve got a problem.
It’s why the Guardians’ job is so important; when you put spiritual leadership that incorporates day-to-day leadership into your life and into the Grid, it becomes possible for the world to then function with that kind of great leadership.
Kathy: So Guardians need to recognize that spiritual power is actually the way to change the world, and is ultimately more powerful than power over people. Until that happens, there won’t be the sort of change in this world that will lead to peace and love and unity, because there won’t be a prototype going in the Grid.
Correct. You know, leadership is one of those topics that a lot of people in this work think that they can go to the bookstore, and buy a book that says, “Here is how you manage,” but that is not how you lead. Or even one that says, “Here is how you can lead this business,” and yet it doesn’t seem to work to get fund-raising going, or more announcers joining a task force, or whatever, and it’s because the spiritual vision is what motivates you.
Kathy: It also seems that empathy, compassion and the ability to relate is also important for working with others.
Yes, in both spiritual and day-to-day leadership, because making it safe is what’s going to draw out the most useful talents for what’s needed.