What’s missing is vision and values that balance all stakeholder concerns with the all too common current focus on shareholders. See my full comments here: http://www.leadershipbeyondlimits.com/2008/10/desperately-needed-business-leaders-of.html
Lack of Humanity and Positive Thinking
Many leaders (defined broadly, not merely in the corporate world) lack a moral foundation from which to make their decisions. They are like flags blowing in the wind, and they all too often consider the interests of whichever stakeholder screams the loudest. Worst of all is when their own self-interest is screaming louder than anyone else (can you say “Franklin Raines”?).
See my latest post on the moral vacuum and the housing/finance crisis at http://www.riandavis.com/RIDblog/.
To get beyond this current, global financial crisis, leaders must be empowered to lead with honesty, integrity and authenticity. Unfortunately, these three critical factors are missing today. Harsh I know, but it’s today’s reality.
We must encourage all our leaders to go back to the days when our word was our bond. We need to allow our leaders and non-leaders to speak out without fear of retaliation.
With empowered, honest leadership, our companies will succeed. Without it, we will continue to stagnate or go downhill.
What is missing in leadership today is what has always been missing and that is empowering, teaching, encouraging, growing, and mentoring the youth of today to be leaders. We wait too long to teach leadership and then we try to fix people who move into leadership positions. We, the older generation, think they are “too young”
One organization that is contributing to great leadership at a young age is http://www.metowe.org
Youth in their teens and early twenties offered and supported in huge leadership challenges to make a difference. Imagine a 20 year old being a lead facilitator taking a group of 25 14-18 year olds to Ecuador to build a school, learn leadership skills, and have a cultural experience. The 20 year old needs to coordinate, motivate, encourage, foster team, support, model, problem solve, etc. Is the 20 year old too young to take on this responsibility?
Or the same 20 year old travelling around to high schools being a motivational speaker, encouraging youth to take action locally or globally. Learing to be self sufficient as a traveller, coordinating events, communicating effectively with school administrators, modelling for youth leadership, public speaking and authentic leadership. Or maybe she is too young to do this?
Ive experienced through this organization leadership being taught in new ways. My daughter is the 20year old I refer to- she just turned 21 a couple of weeks ago. She has been to India twice, Mexico, Ecuador, and heading to Kenya and Egypt after Christmas. She also speaks to youth across Canada.
MetoWe was founded by a 12 year old boy, 13 years ago. The boy, Craig Kielburger, is now 25 and been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize 3 times.
Here is a model of leadership that works. We need more youth leadership models so as these youth move on to lead effectively across the globe they will be authentic, they will know how to model, they will walk the talk, and they will change the world- they believe they can and belief is the first step in being a leader today, right now, regardless of age.
These youth are making a difference. Many of them move into the corporate world over time-aren’t we fortunate that they bring the values, the vision, the belief and the moral foundation needed to fix what the current leadership has messed up. There is hope in the youth of today. Let us as leaders build on that hope and give them the opportunity to lead.
I’m agree with Jonena, that leaders must be empowered to lead honestly. Sometimes our leader can find out which ways to get through the problems, but our leader doesn’t want any of the team know about it, our leader will not be honest to tell the team that there are some problems that should be solved. It will make the problems bigger and bigger.
I think it is important for leader to share the problems with team ( a certain problem that should be solved together), and leaders should hear the team, and may be our leader also has to admit honestly if there is a member of the team can get the clues how to get through the problems.
At a recent conference I learned from an employee on a reservation about Native American Indian tribes using the measurement of seven generations when making a decision. In a large sense, consideration of stakeholders, teams, strategic and sustainable plans all roll into the guiding principle.
The principle remains applicable in a 21st century world.
Interdependance and humility are missing. Our society praises those who seem to be able to do it all and who always seem to be confident in every decision. This encourages leaders to act as though (whether they feel it or not) they can stand alone.
I work with youth leadership development and one of the most important concepts I teach, in my opinion, is the celebration of the strengths of others. What you are not good at is an opportunity for someone else to shine. Not only do they get it… you should see what it does to the confidence of a 15-16 year old when they realize that they don’t have to be good at everything and its okay to admit that fact. They can really lend their strengths and personality preferences to the good of the cause, while celebrating others.
The greatest leaders I know are some of the most humble people I have met. They operate under the philosophy that to lead is to serve. What a world it would be if all of our leaders operated under that philosophy! 🙂
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