Higher Ground and the Wise Advocate
Here is the Wise Advocate story, in a nutshell: There are two types of leadership common today at all levels of an enterprise.
- Transactional – enabling you to make deals, solve immediate problems and please people.
- Strategic – enabling you to challenge existing ways of thinking and accomplish things that others consider impossible, galvanizing people around the organization to do so.
Each is linked to a different pattern of mental activity, and an associated brain circuit. Both are habit-forming. By focusing your attention, you can affect what happens in the mind and brain during these critical moments of choice, and over time this determines what kind of leader you can be.
- If you want to be a better transactional leader, cultivate the Low Ground of the mind and brain.
- If you want to be a powerful strategic leader, no matter where you may sit in the hierarchy, cultivate the High Ground of the mind and brain.
The more you do this, and the more self-aware you are while doing this, the stronger the effect. (We call this “refocusing” your attention.)
A great leader balances the Low Ground and High Ground, moving by choice between expedience (solving problems) and strategy (making a better world).
Three forms of mental activity draw you to the High Ground:
- Mentalizing (thinking about what others are thinking, also called having a “theory of mind”);
- Executive function (practicing mental flexibility, complex thinking – “working memory” – and inhibitory control – “free won’t”);
- Applied mindfulness (the pragmatic application of contemplative practice).
This practice manifests as a “Wise Advocate:” a part of your mind that you can call on as you move to higher ground. This is the inner voice of strategic leadership, giving you third-person insight into your first-person experience – seeing yourself as others might see you, with full compassion and care for your success.
Calling on the Wise Advocate changes people; it helps them develop a more strategic, more influential voice in the organizations and communities they belong to.
It also helps them overcome the deceptive messages that travel through an organization’s culture and hold everyone back.
With enough people embodying the inner voice of strategic leadership, an organization can take on a Wise Advocate role in society at large.
Wise Advocate Enterprises is a small enterprise that manages the ideas and practices emerging from this work. If you are interested in learning more contact us.