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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As we practice caution and social distancing, let us not distance each other in our hearts. As we are forced to slow down and stop our busyness, let us feed more than our fear. Let us strengthen our inner resolve, both physically and spiritually, so we can meet the necessities of the day in hopes of making things more beautiful.
The word “unprecedented” is often used to describe COVID-19 and all the ways it is impacting our lives and our world. But we have had experiences that can help us to weather this time. How can leaders draw upon these past experiences to be, as Vaclav Havel described, a non-anxious presence in the world?
While the acute stages of the coronoa crisis have been difficult, the strategic challenges of the crisis are only just beginning. Paul ‘t Hart outlines the issues that will test the mettle of leaders and institutions worldwide. How they tackle these issues will define their legacies and shape their country’s future.
The rise of populism in the last few years has led to a “them vs us” worldview. COVID-19 seems to have reset the dial on this – fostering calls of compassion, solidarity, and collective action. What are the lessons we can take from this and how will we use them to create a stronger, healthier, safer world?
These days, we are relying on Zoom and other apps to meet and carry on with our work. Sometimes it may seem like we are talking even more than usual! But we are missing the impromptu conversations that are an important part of our workday. As leaders, how can we foster these kinds of conversations and stay connected?
Jacinda Ardern has received great praise as Prime Minister of New Zealand. She exemplifies the Māori concept of a rangatira leader, one who weaves people together. The rangatira approach empowers others to act, at all levels of society, understanding leadership is both an individual and collective endeavor.
While we have taken pride in what we could accomplish in our interconnected world, COVID-19 reveals how our interdependence exposes us to greater risk, making us more vulnerable. It shows how our strength can also be a source of weakness. Is it possible to find strength and possibilities in our shared vulnerability?
The coronavirus has led to a recalibration of the human spirit and a rise in humanity’s leadership. It’s the kind of “connected leadership” the youth of this country, and the world, have been calling for. We must ask ourselves: Why haven’t we been doing this all along? And, how we will make it last?
At this time of social distancing, Bobby Austin calls for us to embrace “Public Kinship” to help tend to the fracturing and crumbling of our social infrastructure. Public Kinship is based on personal self-leadership – what we do for ourselves, for each other, and for the common good.
Authoritarian-style leadership practices have become more common, to the point that they are often dismissed as “that’s just the way it is.” COVID-19 reveals our need for leaders who speak with authenticity and accuracy and puts in stark relief the shortcomings of authoritarian leaders – and the choices ahead of us.
Katherine Tyler Scott, former board chair of the ILA, speaks to the importance of character in leadership, and the damage that occurs when it is lacking. “Questioning and pondering the meaning and relevance of character in leadership is not only an academic exercise, it is a moral imperative, and as we can see daily, it is a matter of life and death.”
These times require a collaborative global approach, based on mutuality and trust. Yet trust is in short supply. This is due, in part, to the rise of authoritarian leaders – malignant narcissists – who pursue their self-interests without any moral restrictions. These leaders are dangerous, not just for their countries, but for the entire world.
ILA’s Leadership for the Greater Good blog is supported via a grant from the MetLife Foundation.