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Image credit: Arturo Donate

Theo Ferguson and Kamla Mungal: Leading From Above the Line

Theo Ferguson and Kamla Mungal: Leading From Above the Line

The leader develops by becoming more self-aware and understanding humanity better

Leading From Above The Line is principle-centred approach to personal development, designed to specifically address leadership challenges in rapidly transforming economies.

There is a line between what is morally acceptable and what is morally unacceptable. Leading From Above The Line helps leaders live and lead above this line and give them the moral courage to make the right choices.

First however, leaders must take time to discover themselves, and acknowledge their strengths, weaknesses and vulnerabilities. This will open the door to self-improvement, by tapping into the Five Sources of Our Inner Power:

  1. principle consciousness
  2. purpose
  3. emotional mastery
  4. understanding change
  5. knowledge empowerment.

With inner strength leaders can win the trust, respect and admiration of others.

The Five Sources of Our Inner Power

You can see them as the five fingers of your hand. Take a look at your hand. That's you. Open and close those five fingers. That's your inner power.

Drawing of a hand

When healthy, these five fingers can give you tremendous power to hold a cricket bat and hit a ball coming at you at over 90 miles per hour. Or, they can give you dexterity and control so that you can easily manipulate a pen and write effortlessly. However, when any one of your five fingers is swollen or painful your power is dissipated.

In the same way that five functioning fingers help you to have total control of your pen, the Five Sources of Your Inner Power help you to have greater control over your life and to display a more positive leadership aura.

Principle consciousness

Principle Consciousness is like your thumb. It gives your life a spiritual and moral anchor in the same way that your thumb relates to your other four fingers. It is about being aware of the principles that define your human nature. You are a moral being with an intuitive understanding of fairness.

Principle consciousness means being conscious of:

  • the moral line
  • your desire to lead from above the line – to be moral
  • your conscience – your intuitive knowledge of right and wrong
  • your humanity being anchored in fundamental principles – our common human values
  • your spiritual connectivity
  • your humanity and the humanity of others
  • your human goodness and the human goodness of others
  • your human inter-dependence
  • and your human dignity and the human dignity of others.


Purpose is like your index finger pointing you in the direction of your destination in life. Every human being comes into the world to do something unique and special. That is your purpose – the second of the Five Sources of Your Inner Power.

 You all have a gift that allows you to excel, but the interesting thing is that you have to discover that gift yourself. No matter how well-meaning your parents and teachers may be, they cannot determine what is best for you. However, they can encourage you to embark on the journey of finding your purpose in life.

Having purpose means:

  • being conscious of your human potential and your desire for excellence
  • living life with meaning, having a reason to want to live
  • making a contribution to humanity, living a life of value
  • living in the interest of others
  • and continuously striving to fulfill your human potential.

Emotional mastery

Emotional mastery is like your long middle finger reminding you that this is a lifetime activity.

You are all emotional beings. You have feelings – some which foster your peace of mind and others, which destroy it.

Develop emotional mastery so that you can have greater self-control. Your negative emotions – such as anger, malice, greed, lust, gluttony, fear and stress – are under the control of your primitive brain. Control lies in your ability to rewire your cerebral cortex, or higher brain, so that you have earlier and greater awareness of your negative emotions, thus giving you the opportunity to effect greater self-control.

Emotional mastery means:

  • having control over the expression of your emotions
  • being able to maintain mental clarity in the face of challenging temptations and anxiety-provoking circumstances
  • being fearless, contented, humble – superior to no one, inferior to no one – loving, caring, forgiving, compassionate and optimistic
  • finding happiness in the expression of your positive emotions
  • and being able to read and respond appropriately to other people’s emotions – showing empathy.

Understanding change

Understanding change is like your ring finger reminding you that change is continuous. It involves understanding the nature of the continuously changing world that you are all a part of, so that you do not live in fear of your ever-changing environment.

Understanding change means:

  • having a sense of balance in relation to the past, present and future
  • recognising the inevitability of change
  • understanding the interplay of humanity, and the physical and biological environments
  • being able to sense the spiritual energy of the universe
  • having a clear perspective of yourself in relation to the environment
  • living without unnecessary fears
  • living in harmony with the world around you
  • understanding the human responses to change
  • understanding your power to lead change – to be a change agent.

Knowledge empowerment

Knowledge empowerment is like your little finger – or pinky – flexible and always searching. This is what we hope you are getting by being a student at the various institutions you attend, and the knowledge you acquire through your own private pursuit of knowledge.

Knowledge empowerment means:

  • having knowledge in support of the fulfillment of your life's purpose
  • being open to the acquisition of new knowledge – to have a beginner's mind
  • and truthfully and passionately sharing your knowledge with others.