Past, Present, and Future as “now”

How do we become better leaders?

How do we become better servant leaders?  

Specifically.  

What skills do we need to develop?  What do we need to focus on? 

Those are the questions we are exploring this week as we look at the key lessons from The Servant as Leader by Robert Greenleaf.

One key element of leadership is foresight.  “A mark of a leader, an attribute that puts them in a position to show the way for others, is that they are better than most at pointing the direction,” writes Robert.

Foresight is what gives leaders their “lead,” what qualifies us to show the way, Robert tells us.

“Leaders must be more creative than most,” Robert states.  “And creativity is largely discovery, a push into the uncharted and the unknown.”

To be a servant leader, we must develop our ability to “have a sense for the unknowable and be able to foresee the unforeseeable.”

Whoa.

And how exactly do we do that?

Part of the answer, Robert explains, is by expanding our understanding of “now.”

“The common assumption about the word ‘now’ is that it is this instant moment of clock time now,” Robert writes.  

Instead, what if we think of “now” like the spread of light from a narrowly focused beam?

“There is a bright intense center, this moment of clock time, and a diminishing intensity, theoretically out to infinity on either side.  As viewed here, now includes all of this—all of history and all of the future,” Robert writes.  

Foresight involves having an understanding of what has already happened and an intuition about what will happen hereafter.

The servant leader “constantly thinks of “now” as the moving concept in which past, present moment, and future are one organic unity,” writes Robert. “What we note in the present moment of clock time is merely the intense focus that is connected with what has gone on in the past and what will happen in the future.”     

“The prescient [person] has a sort of “moving average” mentality (to borrow a statistician’s term) in which past, present, and future are one, bracketed together and moving along as the clock ticks. The process is continuous,” writes Robert. 

Developing this mindset allows us to know and foresee what we were not able to know and foresee previously. 

Which is the mark of a servant leader.

______________________

Reflection:  When in the past has my intuition proved to be correct?  Analyze how my thoughts unfolded.  

Action:  Consider a current challenge.  Journal about what I think will happen.

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