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Leadership Styles - 13 September 2011

“There is an Indian belief that everyone is a house of four rooms: a physical, a mental, an emotional and a spiritual room. Most of us tend to live in one room most of the time, but unless we go into every room every day, even if only to keep it aired, we are not complete.”

The prolific author Rumer Godden wrote those words in her autobiography years ago. There’s usually one room (maybe two) where each of us feels most comfortable, and we spend much of our time in those one or two rooms, often to the neglect of the others.

The physical room is where we focus on our body. For some of us it might be about getting fit or becoming flexible. For others it’s about eating well, or breathing right, or staying active.

The mental room places priority on the mind. Devotees of this space value their thoughts more than anything else. They love to analyse, explore assumptions, and learn.

The emotional room is most closely linked to feelings. Residents of this area freely express gratitude and are in tune with people’s sensitivities. Relationships are important to them.

The spiritual room is less about religion and more about values. It’s about identifying what inspires you and incorporating it into your life. It’s about talents, passions, and authenticity.

As Rumer Godden writes, we are not complete unless we spend time in each room, all four of which are also in the workplace. Consider those four rooms to represent different leadership styles. There’ll be one or two in which you most like to dwell. An amazing leader is one who understands that all four rooms are important, that all four rooms have a role to play.

The physical room is associated with Appearance. Leaders in this space are present, nearby, and approachable. They’re conscious of their body language and facial expressions.

The mental room has a lot to do with Cognisance. These leaders have a high rate of self-awareness. They anticipate problems in advance, plan meticulously, and absorb information.

The emotional room relates to Allegiance. These leaders build connections and realise how their feelings and motivators interact (or clash) with other people’s feelings and motivators.

The spiritual room relates to Substance. These leaders figure out what lights up their employees, and they work hard to help their staff get more of it. They see their job as being of service rather than of dominance.

None of these rooms is better or worse than any other. They all serve their purpose. What matters most is that leaders experiment with all four. One or more of the rooms might be so contrary to your preferred leadership style that you might be tempted to keep the door shut. But, as the Indian belief attests, consider venturing into every room every day, even if only to keep it aired.

 

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