Are You an Aligned Leader?
By Mary Jane Mapes, CSP

As an aligned leader, you are someone who acknowledges all four realms of existence: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. You choose to be guided by the invisible realm of the spirit. In other words, you live life in accordance with universal laws and lasting principles. You do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do. You may not feel respectful of others at all times, but you are. You might be tempted to act unethically, but you don’t. You may not feel like forgiving, but you do. Why? Because your operating system is powered by something greater than ego, habit, and impulse.

If you are a leader who acts out of ego, you are driven by a need to feel good in the eyes of others. For example, you may avoid speaking to employees about their poor performance for fear they might take offense, or you may take credit for the ideas and achievements of others because your ego craves praise. You act as you do to bolster or protect your image in the eyes of others. Your cup of self-respect is filled by how others view you. Unfortunately, you also stand to lose personal self-worth and a sense of control should others disagree with you. As an ego driven leader, you often fail to make the right decision, have a difficult time dealing effectively with conflict, and struggle with operating from a position of integrity. You are swayed by social mores, norms and values. You offer little moral/ethical leadership.

If you are a leader who acts out of habit and impulse, you do what makes you feel good. It’s work to hold people accountable, so you don’t. It’s tough to discipline yourself to stay physically fit, so you don’t. It’s difficult to control your emotions, so you don’t. Much like the ego driven leader, as a leader driven by habit and impulse, you are externally controlled. When a negative event occurs, e.g., someone challenges you, your self-respect and self-control dissipate as fear and anger escalate. Rather than respond appropriately to the situation, you react negatively in order to recoup the self-respect you fear you’ve lost. You lack discipline and moral courage.

As an aligned leader, your operating system is powerful because it emanates from the spiritual realm. You are not driven by short-term, feel good motives. Yours is a world of powerful vision, strong values, and universal truths. Your behavior is not dependent on momentary pleasures or reactions. You understand powers and truths greater than you, and live in accordance with them. Your thoughts, feelings, and behavior are governed by them. You are in perfect alignment.

As an aligned leader, if you claim to value honesty and openness, you live the truth, no matter how difficult. If you say you value integrity, you are ethical in all your dealings, even when it doesn’t serve you personally. If you live by the principle that you hunger for what you feed on, you make sure you surround yourself with literature that nourishes you, literature that uplifts, inspires and propels you. If you live by the universal law of sowing and reaping, you make sure that you sow good seeds into all your relationships. Then both you and your organization reap the rewards that come with mutual respect and caring. If you live by the universal law that says you desire to be a leader of all, you must be servant to all. You never ask people to do what you yourself are not willing to do. You lead by example. Only then are you a true servant-leader.

As a servant-leader, you enjoy self-respect, self-esteem and freedom from external controls. Your goals are unwavering. You welcome conflicting points of view, admit shortcomings, overlook offenses, and make tough decisions, no matter how unpopular. You nurture, respect, utilize and value the diverse talents that others bring to the workplace, leading with a combination of tenderness and toughness, humility and strength. You guide others utilizing positional authority combined with the moral courage and wisdom that derive from living life on a higher plain governed by universal laws.

Others observe your personal power and commitment. They respect your choice to make a difference in the world and your commitment to fulfilling your purpose for being. They see the wisdom in choosing to remain faithful to something greater than yourself. They sense your commitment to them and their well being. They recognize you as a leader whose word is your bond, who is fair in your dealings, respectful of others and who gives credit where due, living a life of purpose and reverence. They sense they are safe with you and can trust you. They recognize you as a person of noble character. As a result, they choose to follow you and to do willingly that which they would not ordinarily do.

Because you are an aligned leader, you are a powerful person who possesses the ability to transform yourself, your relationships, and your organization.

© copyright, 2005 - 7 The Aligned Leader Institute – a division of Mary Jane Mapes & Associates All rights reserved.

Author's Bio: 

Mary Jane Mapes is co-owner of the Portage, MI based leadership development training and consulting organization, The Aligned Leader Institute, LLC. She is a member and past-president of NSA-Michgian and one of only three recipients of the Charles Leadership Award, presented by NSA - MI Chapter for outstanding leadership. The Aligned Leader Institute is dedicated to helping transform managers into leaders who inspire others to voluntarily go above and beyond expectations to achieve extraordinary results.

Mary Jane also speaks on the topics of leadership, customer service, and interpersonal communication to thousands of people annually throughout the US and Canada. Her clientele includes such organizations as Trinity Health Systems, the US Post Office, Pfizer, TVPPA, Kmart Pharmacy, Los Angeles Children’s Hospital, and Avon Products, Inc. To find out more about how Mary Jane Mapes and The Aligned Leader Institute can help you or your organization, call 800-851-2270 or visit their website,