Present leaders should be able to understand different worlds. For what did you do today in the context of global history? Sometimes it looks like we don’t learn anything at all. Where can we find answers for this?
Impression of one of the workshops at Meet the World Event of de Baak: Post Crisis Leadership by Petra Baars.
In India business people are trustees for society. There is a notion of ownership for the community. It is humanistic and inclusive leadership.
Lao Tzu, from an old Chinese tradition, sees leaders as a supporter for learning. A quote from him:
The best man is like water.
Water is good; it benefits all things and does not compete with them.
It dwells in lowly places that all disdain.
This is why it is so near to Tao.
In South Africa there is the notion of Ubuntu: “My humanity is connected to yours”. It is a kind of shared leadership. The Masaï tribe prepares children of 6 years old for leadership by making them responsible for a goat. “If it dies, we die”, are the told. One of their leaders says in an interview that he will be the leader until some else turns up who is a better leader. Leadership qualities are according to him: responsibility, humanity, honesty, benevolence, custody of community and society, trusteeship, teaching of knowledge and wisdom, and honesty.
Spiritual values of leadership are sacrifice of self and serve the interest of everything. To get there you need to undergo a deep-seated self transformation.
Do you have to be great to be good?
Isn’t everyone’s life a journey that can end up in being a leader on al kinds of levels? If you are strict in setting targets for example over a period of 5 years, you can end up missing the changes that take place around you. And the world changes fast. The eastern concept from martial arts is to be fully in the here and now and make decisions from there. If you do the right thing people automatically and naturally come to you. In this view leaders don’t work for their own success but for a higher plan. They are more servants who inspire their flowers: the people who work with them.
Times of crises is a great time to build leaders. Only the strongest ones dare to stand up. As a leader you can choose to be a victim or to be a problem solver. Even when you’re beaten up, considering yourself as a problem solver, you’re mentally still standing straight and you move on. In the Western view there is a focus on finding the right solution. The urge to know “it” causes a lot of frustration. But there will always be paradoxes. Leadership is more about learning and developing, about maturing by experience. For that you need to let go and just feel in the moment what is a wise decision. And don’t avoid fear: fear is a step closer to answers.
So, to be good you need to learn about emotional flexibility (revive if you fail), relationships (how do you manage them?), and decision-making (the intuitive mind is a sacred gift). If you spot problems, see it as a chance. By relaxing as a reaction instead of panic, you can see that there are always other possibilities, that there are always different choices to make. You don’t need stress to create action, you need meditation! A kind of meditation is to walk like a penguin for 5 minutes, very slowly and tiny movements, and feel this movement. An other way is to sit and meditate and visualize yourself outside yourself looking at your head and your thoughts. And besides that, keep helping yourself outside your comfort zone, do different things to stay creative. Let your brain grow until a high age. Living in humility and not with aggression is a radical mindshift… You don’t have to be great, If you whish to, just dare to be good.