Provide Leadership Across the Organisation
PROVIDE LEADERSHIP ACROSS THE ORGANISATION ASSESSMENT BY CHARLOTTE MCMANUS LEADER: The 14th Dalai Lama 1. INTRODUCTION The reason for selecting the Dalai Lama is because he has achieved many things in his life and is now considered amongst many researchers and writers, as one of the greatest leaders of all time. He has been a leader of a country, a religion, and more significantly, the leader of the spiritual world. He is a fascinating character that has experienced many difficult situations which increases the intrigue of this leader and the skills that he possess.
He leads and promotes a way of life that encapsulates all humans, in all countries, of all religions, and uses very unique leadership skills, which will be very interesting to study. 1. 2BACKGROUND The Dalai Lama is a re-incarnation of a long line (13 before him) of “tulkus (an enlightened Tibetan Buddhist lama/teacher) who descend from the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara”.
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The first Dalai Lama was Gendun Drup who lived in 1391 – 1474. Tenzin Gyatso was enthroned as the 14th Dalai Lama in 1940 when he was five years old, and assumed “temporal responsibility of Tibet” (www. alailamafoundation. org) when he was 15 years old. He experienced an invasion of Tibet by the Chinese and escaped into exile in India when he was 24, making him the first ever Dalai Lama ever to leave Tibet. The Dalai Lama has dedicated his life to promoting a world free of violence and suffering, where all nature can live in peace and harmony together, irrespective of nationality and religious beliefs. He believes that through meditation, compassion and the respect for all life, each person will achieve happiness and contentment in their life. 1. 3ACHIEVEMENTS
The Dalai Lama has achieved many things in his life to date, including being awarded with one of the most recognised awards in the world in 1989; The Nobel Peace Prize, which is a true indication of his world-recognised contributions to promote peace. To achieve this award the Dalai Lama has spent his entire life striving to create a more peaceful environment for the human race, with a great focus on reclaiming human rights in Tibet. This mission has seen him travel all over the world, meeting with leaders of many countries presenting new initiatives and being relentless in his message and strength to resolve these issues.
These include his appeals to the United Nations during his exile, in 1959, 1961 and 1965, which resulted in three resolutions being adopted by the General Assembly. In 1987 he presented the “Five Point Peace Plan” to the Congressional Humans Rights Caucus. This was an appeal to the US Congress for the restoration of human rights in Tibet and to announce it as a zone of peace, therefore stopping the dumping of nuclear waste in Tibet, as well as urging “earnest negotiations on the future of Tibet and relations between the Tibetan and Chinese people” (http://nobelprize. org).
In 1989 he offered the “Middle Way Proposal” at the European Parliament, which was not accepted, however, the Dalai Lama again proposed this in 1996 and 1997, when a preliminary opinion poll was held and the policy was adopted by Parliament. In April 1991, Tenzin Gyatsu travelled to the US and met with George Bush, which ended a boycott with the nation, and also resulted in US Congress passing the “Tibetan Policy Act 2002”, formalising US support for dialogue between China and the Dalai Lama, and also providing funding to Tibet for development projects within the country. This was a very strategic decision ade by the Dalai to create a valuable relationship with one of the most powerful counties in the world, and also resulted in the US awarding the Dalai Lama with the highest civilian award, the Congressional Gold Medal, in 2007. Whilst negotiating with parliaments and congress worldwide, the Dalai Lama has rebuilt communities for those living in exile, set up educational, cultural and religious institutions all over the world to assist in maintaining the Tibetan culture and teach Buddhism. He still continues to lead a population of an estimated “500 million Buddhists worldwide” (http://www. thedhamma. com). 1. 4LEADERSHIP CHARACTERISTICS
It is very clear that the Dalai Lama’s objectives are to restore “equality, respect, trust and mutual benefit” (www. nobelprize. org) between Tibet and China. His concerns are for “all members of the human family” (www. nobelprize. org), and he has remained consistent and relentless in his message which has resulted in loyalty and dedication from his followers. Personal values are very important to this leader, and he sets a moral example to his followers, yet also during the most difficult situations he still appears to act rationally. For example, it is reported that “20% of the Tibetan population have died in combat with the Chinese” (www. dityabirla. com), yet he consistently acts with integrity, compassion and empathy, whilst remaining strategic and controlled in his negotiations with this nation. The Dalai Lama’s values and morals are what lead him; this encourages his followers to also align their values with his. He sticks to his principles of right conduct, and therefore sets a moral example to his followers, which results in their unwavering support for him and his cause. These values and morals have prevented the Dalai Lama from behaving violently when in a threatening situation as they are part of his psychological makeup, and moral reasoning.
Theory Y is applicable in this scenario as the Dalai Lama leads on the premise that people are intrinsically motivated, meaning that how they feel will impact and influence them more than external motivation. Because of his spiritual strengths the Dalai Lama has developed the highest stage of moral reasoning, which as Kohlberg has expressed is not always possible. Whilst Gyatsu’s morals remain the most important driver in his leadership, his culture is also something he is very proud of and is something that he is consistently working to retain.
This is evident through his part in the leading the development of towns of Tibetans in exile across the world that celebrate and acknowledge the Tibetan culture, in particular, Buddhism, which has also clearly driven his behaviours and attitudes towards life. There are numerous groups following the Dalai Lama’s Buddhist teachings, with followers travelling all over the world to get the opportunity to meet or listen to his teachings live. This group cohesion ensures reciprocal influence and maximises the influence of his messages, which is another reason why the Dalai Lama spends so much of his time travelling.
He regularly visits these groups to minimise interpersonal conflicts between the groups. It also allows for new groups to form at each event, which results in the group development process repeating itself throughout the world. The Dalai Lama’s leadership is both authentic and servant leadership. He promotes self-awareness, openness and inclusivity within the human family, yet he also acts as a servant for the people of Tibet to fight for their right to live in peace. I would say that the Dalai Lama is a transformational leader who provides vision for his followers and inspires them to “embrace his vision” of peace and happiness for all.
He allows them to dream of what they can achieve, then designs a way for them to achieve it, and then continues to develop it through initiatives and programs that allow the vision to materialise, as we have seen in section 1. 3 “Achievements”. 1. 5TYPE OF POWER Due to his position within the Buddhism community the Dalai Lama possesses referent power over his followers, this has developed over a long period of time, which has allowed his followers to witness his leadership skills and what he is prepared to experience/sacrifice for his beliefs.
This has resulted in his following growing consistently over the past 70 years, as people trust, respect and love him, therefore increasing his influence and support. As it is believed that the Dalai Lama is a reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama he also possesses a level of legitimate power that has been passed down to him when he was enthroned as the 14th Dalai Lama. This legitimate power would only be relevant to those that believe in Buddhism, therefore believe in the concept of reincarnation.
This legitimate power is not a power that the Dalai Lama exercises, as he claims that he is “a simple monk from Tibet, I am no one special” (Nobel Prize acceptance speech). This claim also contributes to the respect that his followers have for him and also helps them relate to him through his personalised leadership, resulting in stronger bonds being formed. The Dalai Lama is also a community leader, as he does not have position power from any country, and also has minimal resources to communicate his message through.
He also possesses the skills to build social capital, as discussed above and mobilisation, through the travel he does all over the world to communicate with his followers. 1. 6PERSONAL TRAITS The Dalai Lama uses his personal traits to communicate with people more effectively, which in turn ensures he gains their trust and respect. He is often smiling at people, listens intently, and always maintains eye contact with the listening or speaker. He appears to be comfortable discussing all topics and never interrupts the speaker during conversation, but listens, encourages them to continue and then responds calmly.
The Dalai Lama speaks three languages, Tibetan, Chinese and English. This ensures he can communicate and connect strongly with his fellow countrymen in Tibet. It is also important that he can communicate effectively with those that he has conflicts with, the Chinese. English is also a language he has learnt, as this is the most common language spoken in the Western world and therefore means maximum exposure of his message to those across the world.
When people talk about their encounter with the Dalai Lama, many mention his insatiable laugh and kind smile that result in them “warming to him” (www. youtube. com) and instantly wanting to listen and absorb his message. It has been reported by some, that he possesses an aura that has an amazingly positive effect on a person and is communicated to the receiver purely through facial expressions, including eye contact. As these aspects of the communication process makes up 50% of the message, it therefore ensures clarity and understanding for the receiver of the message. . 7LESSONS TO BE LEARNT The Dalai Lama has a lot to teach those that analyse his leadership skills, but I would say that the most profound teaching is that you must connect with your followers, by gaining their trust and commitment. This can only be achieved by being consistent in your message, whilst acting with integrity, and providing your group or team with a vision, and assisting with achieving the final goal through support and development of the vision.
It is also important to leave regrets behind and take forward the lessons which have been learnt by past mistakes, which ensures group cohesion, therefore maximising the chances of achieving that goal or objective. To be a successful leder you must be passionate about achieving your objective, as this will be communicated to your followers, therefore encouraging loyalty and passion iin them, whilst inspiring them to achieve their goal. Mentoring is also another important aspect of leadership, as it ssists in the changing of behaviours and also encourages aspirations in the less experienced, whilst passing on valuable skills and lessons learnt from a more experienced leader. This has been apparent by the lessons and support that the Dalai Lama has received from many leaders around the world, including religious political and organisational, and also by the time he spent as a child learning about Buddhism and Tibetan culture. 1. 8CONCLUSION
In conclusion, it has been very interesting and inspiring to read about this leader, i have learnt about many skills that are required to be a successful and inspirational leader. However, this spiritual leader may have many more skills that I believe cannot be duplicated without many hours of meditation and the study of his culture. Yet, this in itself highlights how effective the Dalai Lama is in communicating his message in relation to Buddhism, and how inspirational he really is.