Quantum Mechanics teaches us about the connection between energy and matter. Quantum Leadership teaches us about the connection between the passions of a leader and the substance that is achieved from their materialized results. As a noun, quantum means a particular amount or a required quantity; as an adjective, it describes something as major, sudden, or dramatic. Let us consider the usage of the word as an adjective and thus Quantum Leadership as a thing. Can this thing be measured? Can you add to it? Multiply it? Can you eventually get to an infinite measure of leadership?
Before I get too far, let me say that while “no mathematicians were harmed” in the writing of this blog, kids and other aspiring math students are cautioned that they shouldn’t do this kind of math at home. This is grown-folks math – the stuff that leaders are made of.
Let us begin by introducing The Three Theorems of Quantum Leadership.
A theorem, according to Wikipedia, is “…a logical argument demonstrating that the conclusions are a necessary consequence of the hypotheses”. Theorems are often described as being “trivial”, or “difficult”, or “deep”, or even “beautiful”. But as we ponder the truth of The Three Theorems of Quantum Leadership, the thoughtful leader will discern its beauty in his own life.
The First Theorem of Quantum Leadership:
When leaders think of others first, the measure of their leadership becomes unbounded.
Justin Menkes, in his Harvard Business Review Blog, writes of the pitfalls of leaders who are challenged in this fashion in his blog Narcissism: The Difference Between High Achievers and Leaders. These so-called narcissistic leaders are prone to self-promotion and taking credit for the work of others. Leaders like this have an enormous amount of insecurity and typically fail as they rise in levels of authority. Leaders like this need to learn to understand that as they give credit to others, they will encourage other talented people to want to work to this leader’s own success.
John C. Maxwell, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You describes this concept. A leader who follows this law is like a “… Fortune 500 CEO [who] works on a folding table, answers his own phone, [and] visits hourly employees as often as possible…” This leader understands that when you do things for others, you are able to make a significant impact. Leaders like Martin Luther King and Mother Teresa clearly understood this as leaders who were more interested in the lives of others than their own recognition and rewards.
The Second Theorem of Quantum Leadership:
When leaders grow themselves and others, the measure of their leadership is exponential.
Continuous learning and growth is widely considered to be key to successful leadership. This means that Quantum Leadership requires knowing who you are and what kind of leader you want to be. We need to be careful about how we measure ourselves. The narcissistic leader benchmarks himself using financial and positional metrics. Clayton Christensen in How Will You Measure Your Life gives a great example of goals that quantum leaders could use a starting point. He offers his own goals as wanting to become:
• A man who is dedicated to helping improve the lives of other people
• A kind, honest, forgiving, and selfless husband, father and friend
• A man who doesn’t just believe in God, but who believes God
This makes Quantum Leadership an aspirational endeavor as well as inspirational. The late Steven Covey stressed this in his book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People in his notion that operating and aligning in a set of universal and timeless principles would ultimately lead to the kind of success in Quantum Leadership.
The beauty in this theorem comes from expanding its application to the followers and teams within the scope of the Quantum Leader. You maximize your leadership by tending to the needs of others and increasing their leadership potential. They will in turn tend to the needs of their followers and increase their followers’ leadership potential. Pretty soon, you will have an army of people who live the altruistic virtues of a leadership calling and have a burning passion about what they do.
The Third Theorem of Quantum Leadership:
When leaders align their thoughts and actions to the frequency of their Vision, it becomes reality.
The “beauty” of this theorem is that it implies that your vision/beliefs/hopes come about when you as a leader are “tuned” into those frequencies. The converse is however false, or at least should be carefully avoided by a leader when the frequencies of those things around you are allowed to adversely change your vision. I almost had the audacity to call this The Last Theorem of Quantum Leadership because when you care for others, help them grow, and have an unwavering vision for what is good, true, and beautiful, you can achieve the impossible — not much is left after that.
There’s a lot of talk these days about the Higgs boson and how it helps quantum physicists understand the connection between mass and energy. Well, Quantum Leadership takes the energy of a leader’s vision, their love for their followers, and the intention of their actions and produces substance and results. The equation cited above is motivated by Swiss mathematician Johann Balmer. He wasn’t that well-known, but he did know how to get around a hydrogen atom. And perhaps his work can help us understand what a quantum of leadership might look like.
“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are a part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.” – Max Planck, German physicist and originator of quantum theory
The passion of the Quantum Leader is the energy that turns their vision into reality. And through this axiom of truth, the impossible is made possible.