Leadership for the Greater Good:
Global Thought Leaders Explore Today's Challenges
ILA’s blog launched in March 2020 amid a world struggling to make sense of the pandemic, racial inequality, and challenges to democracy. We charge our bloggers to apply their leadership knowledge and practical wisdom to inform and inspire us as we continued our work of advancing leadership knowledge and practice for a better world. Bloggers include authors from 12 countries spanning 5 continents.
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Is this the beginning of the end of leadership education and development as we know it? If so, perhaps it is also an opportunity to forge a new agenda that addresses the challenges of the past and reimagines the value of our work for a future that may look quite different from that which came before us.
Our world is a place where benefits and burdens are not widely shared. We have an opportunity to envision a new way of moving forward, a new narrative for ourselves, our communities, and our world. What do we want to become? Our perspectives, and the choices we make, depend on the “wolf” we feed.
The coronavirus continues to devastate communities around the world. Given the immensity of the damage and the colossal investment needed to repair it, ensuring that our responses enhance the capacity – the resilience – of communities and regions to respond to future challenges and disruptions is imperative.
We long to return to our old lives. But, at the end of this crisis, it would be a shame to simply go back to normal. If leaders do not learn from the global pandemic, they are likely to be unprepared when new problems arise. Here are five critical lessons that we and our leaders need to learn from this crisis.
What are the lessons we can learn from New Zealand’s remarkable success in responding to COVID-19? This cogent analysis points to their clarity of purpose in minimizing harm to lives and livelihoods and three key leadership practices – being led by expertise, mobilizing collective effort, and enabling coping.
Fifty years ago, Milton Friedman asserted that the social responsibility of business was only to increase its profits, within the law. This mantra, with its focus on the short term, gained a strong hold on much of business practice and continues to guide leadership decision-making in response to COVID-19.
As we think how to open the country, we ask: How will we know what is safe? How will we structure the workplace? How will we educate our children? We need to give as much thought to what we will reimagine, or even just imagine, as the common good in American life and our relationships – one human to another.
The Global Pandemic: A Trigger for Deeply Systemic Disruptive Social Innovation? Or an Inevitable Global Apocalypse?
Our political, social, and economic ideologies and institutions are not adequately dealing with global wicked problems. Leadership must start and sustain courageous leadership conversations, or we will not make progress towards solving these growing problems and the probabilities for an apocalyptic end increase.
The killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis, USA triggered a wave of protests about racial inequality across the world. In Bristol, UK, it led to the toppling of the statue of Edward Colston, a 17th-century slave trader. The response to these and other events show us that we have much to learn about the nature and purpose of good leadership in contemporary society.
Ill-informed decisions wreak havoc to our economies and societies. Intellectuals in academia have a duty to engage in the public debate, to describe how they see the problems, create new ways of dealing with them, and challenge what we take for granted. It is time to stretch what is impossible and unthinkable!
We are fighting the fires caused by an eruption of the collective shadow, of what has been repeatedly suppressed and ignored for decades; some would say centuries. The flames will once again be quelled and when they are, we must not breathe a sigh of relief. It will just be the beginning of the real work.
Officers Thao, Keung, and Lane stood by passively while George Floyd desperately pleaded to breathe and live. These bystanders should have had the psychological capacity to intervene and save his life. Why didn’t they act? The focus of our national conversation must be on them – for they are us.
ILA’s Leadership for the Greater Good blog is supported via a grant from the MetLife Foundation.