From the many encounters I have had with leaders from various parts of the world, I have noticed a remarkable aspect of today’s reality: the desire to make a difference is present in many leaders, however deeply buried. I met very, very few who, if sincerely questioned, would not find deep in their heart the aspiration to contribute to a better world.
Beneath the surface, there is an unexpressed need to create more meaning, more connectedness, and more relatedness, and to help improve the lives of others. Wanting to make a difference in the world by serving humankind is probably the most widely suppressed desire in organizations and among leaders.
A senior manager from a multinational company phrased it like this: “What I feel is that every person actually has a core that wants to serve … and it is more about uncovering it, because this gets silenced, cut off, nobody is asking for it, nobody is rewarding it in the organization. You almost have to do it against all odds. “
This latent desire is what I would like to encourage you to rediscover, explore and cultivate. If you don’t do it, nobody will do it for you.
And the world’s course depends on each person’s contribution.
If my assumption is correct, if, at the bottom of a leader’s aspiration, is the desire to serve the world, accessing such aspiration cannot only free you to follow your authentic self, it will also open the way to more responsible and responsive leadership. The change out there in the world cannot be separated from the change inside you. Issues of sustainability need a response from each person’s heart, or they won’t be sustainable. At the same time, the personal development of leaders needs to reflect more than effectiveness and performance. It needs to become a pathway to sustainable future action in this world.
Inspired by one another, mind and heart will develop in unison.
This reflection is taken from my book: Mind and Heart, Mapping Your Personal Journey towards Leadership for Sustainability. For more information on my new book the Art of Leading Collectively, checkout the inside the book and reviews on amazon.com, or get inspired by an onsite course that takes the compass into the daily challenges of navigating complex change.