A FEW KEY ISSUES THAT COULD IMPROVE ONE’S LEADERSHIP
Here are a few issues I would ask readers to think about in the next several posts; issues that I think will help them improve their leadership. I will focus on each of these in more detail in the blogs ahead.
1. I would ask those who seek to be good leaders to value leisure in their leadership development, thus undermining the addiction to endless activity so frequently seen in failed leaders. If a leader’s life is not healthy, neither will his or her leadership.
2. I urge leaders-in-the-making to bring recollection and focus to their lives, thus blocking the thoughtlessness and scattered responses we so often witness today, unfocused, ad hoc involvement without long term vision for the betterment of society. If a leader cannot find his or her core values, his or her leadership will always lack focus.
3. I ask that individuals nourish their lives with silence and quiet times in which they can think things through, appreciate the impact of their decisions, and learn to listen to the challenges of others and even of transcendent values. The clearest voice a leader must listen to comes in silence.
4. I place before future leaders the challenge to appreciate the world and its people with a sense of mystery, awe, and wonder, so that they can constantly challenge themselves to discover the goodness all around them. For visionary leaders, the world is a teacher, a special guru.
5. I stress the importance for leaders to identify their motivating values, so as to purify the false values and build on the good ones. I call on leaders to tell themselves what they believe in, what for them is the meaning of life, and what is their own purpose in life, since out of this awareness will follow the justness or harmfulness of their decisions.
6. I urge leaders to face the struggles of life, those times of unexpected, breakthrough illumination or painful and purifying periods of darkness. It is important that leaders confront the pain and suffering of others and to view life from their perspective. Spiritual leaders must also accept the pain they will meet in their own leadership. Out of these experiences they must lead in a world of suffering.
7. I plead with those who wish to lead others to treasure people above all else and to treat everyone with graciousness. When so many of our world leaders use and abuse others, it is important that we value all persons in their dignity and potential future growth. Leaders today must treat everyone with respect and reverence.
8. Leaders today cannot lead merely from positions of strength and power since we have seen so often the failures of these approaches. Rather, people need to know that they are loved, and that is the primary task of a leader. Leaders today must have humility and must manage their world with the wisdom of love.
We need a new kind of leader, one who appreciates that leadership comes from within a leader’s heart where values and approaches to life are deeply rooted. Such a one will not be led astray by greed, arrogance, and lust for power that we find in so many contemporary leaders. Leaders today must be dedicated to justice, ethical treatment of others, equity, fairness, truthfulness, mutuality, caring, and community building. They must be selflessly committed to changing lives for the better—their own and others’. These are the values that create leaders who make a difference in the lives of people and societies and make up a vision of promise. So, we seek leaders who trust, support, and inspire others; who can freely make choices and decisions in light of a hope-filled future; who have courage and determination to be open to the future and to take risks; who are thrilled at opportunities to empower others, to delegate to them, and to celebrate their successes. This shift in a leader’s priorities from self to others comes when one is at peace with oneself and one’s own values and approaches to life. Such a leader’s calm dedication and determination come from a life built on the convictions and priorities mentioned above.