Leading From Within
What the world needs now may be love but it also clearly needs the right type of leadership.
Reflecting on the response to both Brexit and the USA Presidential election I recalled a quote attributed to Joseph de Maistre, 1753 to 1821, lawyer, diplomat, writer, and philosopher, "Every country has the government it deserves". Or another, "In a democracy people get the leaders they deserve". So whilst we continue to see the reactions of the politicians and the populace all over the world, I wonder, if Joseph was correct in his surmise and more importantly what should we do, what can we do, and what must we do?
Society consists of groups with their own unique cultures determined through their values, attitudes, beliefs and behaviours. Those groups consist of individuals all of whom have their own values, attitudes, beliefs and behaviours. So if we want to secure the leaders and government we deserve we need to hold the mirror up to ourselves first and ask whether we are positive role models, are we leading ourselves, and are we leading from within?
As Hilary is clearly still reeling from the election result and as various politicians in the UK Government continue to rail against the Brexit result I wonder how they are reflecting on their own leadership. It may seem overly simplistic but a truth that behaviour breeds behaviour. If you are cutting, critical and condemning you are more than likely to encourage a similar response. If you are judgmental, discriminatory and divisive then you encourage the same behaviours. So how can our politicians be surprised by the outcome? The political parties must hold the mirror up and ask how, in the most [arguably] powerful country in the world, they could not source truly positive role models and inspirational leaders who promoted unity from the outset.
Should any organisation have leaders such as we are seeing in politics we would expect to see a dysfunctional culture. The organisation may perform in the short term but certainly not in the medium to longer term, and certainly not without damaging their employees. Indeed our politicians are critical of such companies - and quite rightly so. Curious then that the same scrutiny does not seem to apply to themselves.
Any shift in culture, any change in society begins with an individual and individuals. So let's look to ourselves. Leading from within is about self awareness, emotional competence, self esteem, authenticity, trust, resilience and critically holding true to our values. Knowing who we are, what we stand for and leading by example is the responsibility of us all. Before we criticise, let's stay curious and seek to understand why we have the leaders we have. A huge percentage of the population clearly feel we have the right leaders in place. Do we seek and fully understand the perspective of others? We don't need to agree but we do need to make sense of an opposing view. Before we judge and discriminate, let's learn to nurture each other in every part of society. Before we move to conflict, let's learn not to take ourselves too seriously and find other solutions. And let's continue to focus on instilling the values we want to see in the next generations and ensuring that they know how to lead themselves and lead from within.
Are you leading from within? Take a look at our infographic to ask yourself 7 questions.
If we continue to be part of a dialogue which is negative, be sure we will reap what we sow. Let's all play our part and look within and lead from within.
"If all misfortunes were laid in one common heap whence everyone must take an equal portion, most people would be content to take their own and depart." Socrates.