Leadership: Observation, Intelligence, and Experience

In Sadhguru’s video on leadership, he emphasizes that being a leader is not about desiring the position, but about possessing a unique combination of observation, intelligence, and experience that sets you apart from others. Leadership is about having a sense of identity beyond oneself and being willing to think, feel, and act for the benefit of others. Sadhguru explains that a leader is someone who can see or do something that others cannot, and this ability allows them to naturally rise to a position of leadership. The ultimate goal of leadership, regardless of the industry or field, is to contribute to the well-being of humanity.

During a conversation with Vinita Bali, Sadhguru expands on the concept of leadership and the qualities that define a true leader. He emphasizes that being a leader is not just about occupying a position of power, but about being able to see clearly and effectively produce results. A leader’s sense of identity should extend beyond themselves, and they should be willing to think, feel, and act for the benefit of more people than just themselves. Sadhguru believes that everyone has the potential to manifest leadership qualities by taking ownership of their actions and striving for a better outcome. He highlights that true leadership is about enhancing efficiency, producing results with limited resources, and ultimately contributing to the well-being of individuals and society as a whole.

Leadership: Observation, Intelligence, and Experience

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Importance of observation

Observation plays a crucial role in leadership. It allows you to see things that others may not notice, giving you a unique perspective and the ability to make informed decisions. By observing carefully, you can gather valuable information, identify patterns, and gain insights that can lead to innovative solutions and successful outcomes. Observation helps you understand the needs and concerns of your team members, stakeholders, and the environment in which you operate, enabling you to tailor your approach and effectively address challenges.

Developing observation skills

Developing strong observation skills is essential for effective leadership. To improve your observation abilities, start by practicing mindfulness and being fully present in the moment. This means actively paying attention to your surroundings, noticing details, and being receptive to new information. Regularly take the time to observe and reflect on situations, interactions, and outcomes. Consider different perspectives and challenge your own biases and assumptions. Engage in active listening, asking probing questions, and seeking feedback from others to deepen your understanding further. By honing your observation skills, you can enhance your leadership capabilities and make more informed decisions.

Role of observation in leadership

Observation is a fundamental aspect of leadership. It helps you assess the current state of affairs, identify challenges and opportunities, and devise strategic plans. By keenly observing your team members, you can understand their strengths, weaknesses, and individual needs, enabling you to provide effective guidance, support, and mentorship. Observation also allows you to recognize emerging trends, anticipate changes, and adapt your leadership style accordingly. It empowers you to lead by example, setting the tone for your team and inspiring them to perform at their best. Through observation, you can continuously evaluate performance, monitor progress, and make necessary adjustments to achieve desired outcomes.


Understanding intelligence in leadership

Intelligence is a critical attribute for effective leadership. It involves the ability to process information, think critically, solve problems, and make sound decisions. In the context of leadership, intelligence encompasses not only cognitive abilities but also emotional intelligence, social intelligence, and cultural intelligence.

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Cognitive intelligence refers to logical reasoning, analytical thinking, and strategic planning. It involves the capacity to absorb, analyze, and synthesize information from various sources, enabling leaders to make informed choices. Emotional intelligence, on the other hand, centers around self-awareness, empathy, and the ability to understand and navigate emotions in oneself and others. Leaders with high emotional intelligence can build strong relationships, motivate and inspire their team members, and handle conflicts effectively. Social intelligence relates to the understanding of social dynamics, norms, and behaviors. It allows leaders to navigate complex social interactions, build networks, and influence others positively. Cultural intelligence is the ability to adapt and work effectively in diverse cultural settings. Leaders with high cultural intelligence are sensitive to different perspectives, values, and customs, allowing them to lead diverse teams and engage stakeholders from various backgrounds.

Different types of intelligence

There are various types of intelligence that contribute to effective leadership. Some common types include:

  1. Logical-Mathematical Intelligence: This type of intelligence is characterized by the ability to reason logically, think analytically, and solve complex problems. Leaders with strong logical-mathematical intelligence excel in strategic planning and making data-driven decisions.

  2. Linguistic Intelligence: Linguistic intelligence refers to the ability to communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing. Leaders with linguistic intelligence can articulate their ideas clearly, motivate and inspire others through their words, and establish strong communication channels within an organization.

  3. Interpersonal Intelligence: Interpersonal intelligence involves the ability to understand and relate to others. Leaders with interpersonal intelligence are skilled at building relationships, resolving conflicts, and inspiring collaboration among team members.

  4. Intrapersonal Intelligence: Intrapersonal intelligence is the ability to understand oneself, including strengths, weaknesses, and emotions. Leaders with intrapersonal intelligence have self-awareness and are able to manage their emotions effectively, which enables them to make balanced decisions and lead with authenticity.

  5. Emotional Intelligence: Emotional intelligence encompasses the capacity to perceive, understand, and manage emotions, both in oneself and others. Leaders with high emotional intelligence can build strong relationships, inspire trust, and motivate their team members to achieve outstanding results.

  6. Cultural Intelligence: Cultural intelligence refers to the ability to understand and adapt to different cultures and work effectively in diverse settings. Leaders with high cultural intelligence are respectful of diverse perspectives, can bridge cultural gaps, and foster inclusivity within their teams and organizations.

Developing and utilizing intelligence in leadership

Developing and utilizing intelligence is a continuous process in leadership. Continuous learning, self-reflection, and seeking feedback from others are essential for personal and professional growth. Engage in activities that stimulate different types of intelligence, such as reading, problem-solving exercises, and cultural immersion experiences. Cultivate self-awareness through mindfulness practices, journaling, and regular reflection. Actively seek opportunities to develop emotional intelligence by practicing empathy, active listening, and conflict resolution skills.

As a leader, it is important to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of your team members and leverage their various types of intelligence. Create an inclusive environment where different forms of intelligence are valued and celebrated. Encourage collaboration and the sharing of diverse perspectives, as this can lead to more innovative and effective solutions. Recognize and provide opportunities for your team members to further develop their intelligence and expertise. By harnessing the intelligence within yourself and others, you can lead with greater insight and create a culture of excellence.


The significance of experience in leadership

Experience is a valuable asset for effective leadership. It provides leaders with practical knowledge, skills, and insights that can guide their decision-making and actions. Through experience, leaders learn from both successes and failures, gaining a deeper understanding of what works and what does not. Experience also instills confidence and credibility, as it demonstrates a leader’s ability to navigate challenges, overcome obstacles, and deliver results. Additionally, experience enables leaders to anticipate and manage risks more effectively, as they have encountered similar situations in the past.

Gaining experience through practical exposure

To gain experience in leadership, it is important to seek out practical exposure and hands-on opportunities. Take on new challenges, projects, and responsibilities that stretch your abilities and allow you to learn and grow. Actively volunteer for leadership roles or projects that require you to collaborate with diverse stakeholders, solve complex problems, and make critical decisions. Seek out mentorship and guidance from experienced leaders who can provide valuable insights and support your development. Embrace a mindset of continuous learning, seeking feedback, and being open to new experiences. By actively engaging in different leadership experiences, you can enhance your skills, expand your knowledge, and build a solid foundation for effective leadership.

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Leveraging past experiences for effective leadership

A key aspect of utilizing experience in leadership is the ability to reflect on and learn from past experiences. Take the time to analyze both successes and failures, understanding the factors that contributed to each outcome. Identify patterns, strategies, and approaches that were effective and can be replicated in future situations. Determine areas for improvement and consider how you can enhance your leadership skills based on these insights. Share your experiences with others, both within your organization and in professional networks, as this can contribute to collective learning and growth. By leveraging past experiences, you can make more informed decisions, avoid repeating mistakes, and lead with greater confidence and wisdom.

Becoming a Leader

Methods of becoming a leader

There are various methods through which one can become a leader. These methods include getting elected or selected, pulling others down, or being naturally recognized for one’s abilities. However, it is important to note that true leadership is not about seeking power or authority for personal gain. Instead, it is about having a certain level of observation, intelligence, or experience that allows one to see and do things that others cannot.

Election or selection as a leader

One common method of becoming a leader is through the process of election or selection. In many organizations or communities, leaders are chosen based on their perceived abilities, qualifications, or popularity. This method allows individuals to showcase their skills, demonstrate their suitability for leadership, and gain the trust and support of their peers or constituents. Through a democratic process, leaders are elected or selected to represent the interests and needs of a group or organization.

Impacting leadership by pulling others down

Another method of becoming a leader, although not recommended, is by pulling others down. This approach involves undermining or sabotaging the efforts of others in order to elevate oneself to a position of leadership. However, this method is counterproductive and creates a negative and unhealthy work environment. True leadership is not about stepping on others or diminishing their capabilities but about empowering and supporting them to reach their full potential.

Recognition of leadership abilities

The most authentic and sustainable method of becoming a leader is through the recognition of one’s abilities by others. When someone consistently demonstrates exceptional observation skills, intelligence, and experience, they naturally attract the attention and respect of their peers. Others begin to recognize and acknowledge their unique perspective, problem-solving abilities, and their positive impact on the team or organization. In this way, leadership emerges organically, based on merit and genuine qualities.

It is important to remember that leadership is not about seeking a position or title but about making a positive difference and inspiring others to achieve their full potential. True leaders focus on service and strive to bring out the best in others, rather than tearing them down.

Leadership: Observation, Intelligence, and Experience

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Sense of Identity

The role of identity in leadership

One fundamental aspect of leadership is having a sense of identity that extends beyond oneself. A leader’s sense of identity is not confined to personal interests or ambitions but encompasses a broader perspective that considers the well-being of others and the greater good. This sense of identity enables leaders to think, feel, and act for more people than just themselves, informing their decisions and actions in a way that benefits the collective.

Transcending self-interest

Leadership requires individuals to transcend their self-interest and prioritize the needs and interests of the team, organization, or community they lead. This means considering the impact of their decisions and actions on all stakeholders and working towards outcomes that benefit everyone involved. By setting aside personal biases, goals, and agendas, leaders can foster an inclusive and collaborative environment that promotes mutual growth and success.

Thinking, feeling, and acting for the greater good

Leadership goes beyond intellectual capacity and encompasses emotional intelligence and moral integrity. Leaders must not only think about the greater good but also empathize with the feelings and perspectives of others. By understanding and valuing the diversity of experiences and opinions within their team or organization, leaders can build trust, inspire collaboration, and create a strong sense of unity. Furthermore, leaders must align their actions with their values and demonstrate ethical behavior. By consistently acting in a manner that upholds integrity and inspires others, leaders set a positive example and contribute to the overall well-being of those they lead.

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Clarity of Vision

The importance of clarity in leadership

In order to be an effective leader, it is crucial to have a clear vision of where you want to go and what you want to achieve. Clarity of vision provides a guiding light, enabling leaders to set goals, make decisions, and inspire others towards a common purpose. It helps leaders stay focused, motivated, and resilient in the face of challenges or obstacles.

Developing clear vision and goals

To develop a clear vision, leaders must engage in introspection, reflection, and strategic thinking. They need to identify their values, passions, and strengths, and align them with the needs and goals of their team or organization. Leaders must also consider external factors such as market trends, industry dynamics, and stakeholder expectations to ensure their vision is relevant and realistic. Once a clear vision has been established, leaders must define specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals that support the vision. These goals provide a roadmap for action, helping leaders and their teams stay on track and measure progress.

Effective execution for producing results

A clear vision is only valuable if it is effectively executed. Leaders must communicate their vision and goals clearly to their team, ensuring everyone understands their individual roles and responsibilities. They should provide guidance, resources, and support to enable their team members to achieve their objectives. Effective leaders also foster a culture of accountability, encouraging their team to take ownership of their tasks and deliver results. Regular evaluation and feedback loops are essential to monitor progress, identify areas for improvement, and make necessary adjustments to ensure the vision is being realized.

By maintaining a clear vision and effectively executing it, leaders inspire and empower their team members, driving them towards success and achieving desired outcomes.

Leadership: Observation, Intelligence, and Experience

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Contributing to Human Well-being

Leadership’s ultimate goal

The ultimate goal of leadership is to contribute to human well-being. Leadership is not simply about attaining power or achieving individual success but about creating positive change that benefits individuals, communities, and society as a whole. Effective leaders prioritize the well-being and growth of their team members, stakeholders, and the larger community they serve.

Impact on human well-being

Leadership has a significant impact on the well-being of individuals and communities. Good leadership can inspire and motivate people, enhance productivity and innovation, and foster a positive and inclusive work environment. Effective leaders ensure the physical, emotional, and psychological safety and well-being of their team members, promoting work-life balance, and supporting their personal and professional development. They create opportunities for growth, celebrate achievements, and provide guidance and mentorship. By prioritizing human well-being, leaders can create an environment that nurtures and empowers individuals to thrive, contributing to overall happiness and fulfillment.

Leadership across industries and fields

Leadership is not limited to a specific industry or field but is essential across all sectors of society. From business and politics to education and healthcare, strong leadership is needed to tackle complex challenges, drive innovation, and create a positive impact. Leaders in each industry or field bring unique skills, knowledge, and experiences to the table, influencing the well-being of their stakeholders and shaping the future of their respective domains. Whether leading a small team or an entire organization, leaders have the responsibility to prioritize human well-being, advocate for positive change, and contribute to the betterment of society.


To develop good leadership skills, it is crucial to cultivate observation, intelligence, and experience. By honing your observation skills, you can gather valuable insights, understand the needs of others, and make informed decisions. Developing and utilizing different types of intelligence, such as cognitive intelligence, emotional intelligence, and cultural intelligence, will enhance your leadership capabilities. Experience provides practical knowledge, skills, and confidence that contribute to effective leadership. By gaining practical exposure, reflecting on past experiences, and leveraging insights, you can continuously improve your leadership abilities. Becoming a leader involves recognizing and utilizing your unique abilities, rather than seeking power or authority. A sense of identity beyond oneself, thinking, feeling, and acting for the greater good, and having a clear vision are essential elements of effective leadership. Ultimately, the goal of leadership is to contribute to human well-being and make a positive impact in the world. Leadership is not limited to specific industries or fields but is crucial across all sectors of society. By developing good leadership skills, you can create positive change, inspire others, and contribute to a better future for all.

Leadership: Observation, Intelligence, and Experience

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