The Number One Skill of a 21st Century Leader And How to Acquire It

By Bastianela Bente

Guest Writer for Wake Up World

Unfortunately, nowadays, most leadership training fails to deliver the transformation it promises. The reason for that is that most do not address what I call the root skill of a true leader. Or, if they do, the approach is from the outside-in and not the other way around, which is how it would need to be for an enduring transformation.

The simple truth is that in order to be a great leader, you first need to know who you truly are, at your core.

Consider this: you can learn as much as you like in theory about how to be a good leader, but if you cannot apply it in the moment, when facing a challenge, what is the point of learning more?

The secret to being a great leader is who you are, not what you know!

You may have a clear idea about what these words mean to you, but let me explain what I mean by them!

Say that you meet a challenging situation at work and something really gets you fearful or worried, or angry. And you need to choose a course of action in the moment. Are you then capable of performing at your best? You know that fear, anxiety or anger cloud your judgement, but are you able to completely wash that reaction out of your system so you be a great leader when handling the situation? Most people are not able to do that on the spot. Firstly, because they don’t even think about doing that, secondly, they don’t know how to do it and thirdly because they try to solve the problem at the level it occurred (in the mind).

But as Einstein said:

You cannot solve a problem from the same consciousness that created it.

You must learn to see the world anew.”

So your challenge is to extract yourself from the midst of the problem and get to a higher ground (where you can be free of anger, anxiety or fear) for a clearer vision of the situation – but without your perception being altered by your limiting thoughts or emotions. Not an easy thing to do. However, what you are about to find out here has the potential to change your life forever! So, you may want to pay close attention to this!

Tapping Into Your Higher Intelligence

We all, as human beings have the ability to get out of our limiting mind patterns at will and we all have the ability to access our true self (beyond the mind). The true self always has the freedom and unlimited resources to solve anything. This is a basic human capability that very few know about, and even fewer know how to access it at will, especially when they need it the most!

This capability is basically a higher form of intelligence which allows you to be your true unconditioned self independent of the circumstances. Neuroscience discovered that this intelligence is wired in the human brain from birth, but it remains dormant if we don’t learn how to activate and use it consciously for our greater good and the good of others.

But how does this relate to being a great leader? Well, you have probably connected the dots by now. But let me spell that out for you: to be the best leader you can be, you need to know how to be your best self in any circumstance.

And to be able to be your best self, you need to be able to function as your true self, beyond the conditioning mind. This is only possible when you know how to access your higher dimension of intelligence. This is where greatness begins!

The good news is, all you need to do is simply learn how to train your brain to function with this higher intelligence, so you can naturally and effortlessly be your best no matter how difficult the challenge.

In other words, you can train your brain to be your best self all the time.

When you have trained your brain to use this higher intelligence as the new way of processing life, you’’ll experience a totally new way of thinking, feeling, speaking, relating and performing.

Among many qualities your higher intelligence can bring to you, you can enjoy conscious presence, a broader and wiser perspective, clarity in general and clarity in decision making, integrity, inner peace, creativity, intuition, higher order problem solving, love, compassion, joy…

In short: You can teach your brain to process life optimally so you can always be your best, unconditioned by the mental patterns you acquired during your development as a human being. This means you’ll be able to handle situations and relationships:

  • by responding, instead of reacting to the present moment
  • from inner peace, instead of pressure, or inner conflict
  • from love, instead of fear
  • from presence and awareness, instead of unconscious, programed behavior
  • from truth and integrity instead of any form of falsehood

Training your brain to operate with this higher intelligence will enable you to easily handle any challenges that occur, via your unconditioned conscious presence.

Without that, and with complex challenges increasing every day in our VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) world , you will be more and more prone to stressing out over situations, which will inevitably affect your performance as well as your relationships and your life as a whole, blocking you from being your best.

On the other hand, living with your higher intelligence allows you to remain present and in your full power all the time, able to use all your qualities and capabilities in the moment, free of the pressure of the circumstance, free from any conditioning! This is what being your best self is about!

The Power of the Still Point

The number one skill of a 21st century leader is the ability to access the higher dimension of intelligence at will independent of the circumstances.

To help you make a step towards activating your higher intelligence, here is one essential exercise for you to practice. It will only take a minute or two.

Pick a time when you are alone and when you can get comfortable, and close your eyes for a moment. Take a few deep slow breaths and put your attention on the breathing. Follow the breathing cycle with your attention… Inbreath…. Outbreath…


1 – Notice that at the end of your inbreath there is a slight pause before you start to breathe out. This pause is called the Still Point. Practice finding that pause with your attention. When you have found it…

2 – Feel what it is like in that Still Point and keep your attention on that feeling. Stay with that feeling.

There is no need to create this pause. It happens spontaneously. The Still Point is a natural part of the breath cycle.

When you start practicing this exercise, you will find that it calms you down quickly and helps you reconnect with your deeper self quickly, in a natural and easy way.

After you have done this practice alone and in silence, and got used to doing it easily, you can start using it anytime in any situation or activity, when you need to calm down, control a state of reactivity, balance your emotional state or just relax deeply.

Becoming aware of the Still Point is essential for accessing your higher intelligence.
There is of course also a second Still Point at the end of the out-breath. Learning how to go further and use the Still Points to activate your higher intelligence requires personal coaching as, even though the next step is simple, it is also subtle so we need to make sure you get it right.

You may also want to read:

Griffiths, R. (2012) The Spiritual Intelligence Paradigm. The relationship between post-materialist science and spiritual intelligence.

The B Team (2015) The End of Business As Usual

O’Brien, G (2014) The Role of Spiritual Intelligence in 21st Century

Serving your highest potential,

Bastianela Bente

Transpersonal Leadership Coach

Applied Neuroscience and Positive Psychology Practitioner

About the author:

  • Bastianela Bente is a speaker, trainer, and spiritual intelligence coach. She is the founder of 3Q Romania and deputy director of the 3Q Institute UK. She runs 3Q Programs for the Public, Schools and Companies, and has worked with hundreds of people from all over the world. Her work as a teacher of spiritual intelligence draws on more than 20 years of experience as a yoga practitioner, meditator, and coach.

You can contact Bastianela in the following ways:

Soul to Soul