This revolution will ask all of us to shift our ways of thinking to connection rather than consumerism, to purpose rather than profits, to sustainability rather than selfishness. We must awaken to see workers not as inputs, the environment not as our personal domain, and shareholders not as all-powerful. And we need to move away from old models of doing what is right for me and assuming it will turn out right for you.”
— Jacqueline Novogratz, Author, A Manifesto for a Moral Revolution
Amongst the pain, destruction, fear and uncertainty, the world is demanding a new form of leadership. Leadership that acts on aspirations beyond personal goals or even beyond the traditional bounds of a business or organisation but instead seeks to work towards the greater good. As a global society, we are facing unprecedented challenges that need solutions outside our current thinking. We need models that stretch our thinking and we need new frameworks to inspire our action.
We need leaders who serve the greater good.
First and foremost, Greater Good Leaders serve a purpose beyond themselves. We dare to imagine a future which affords everyone opportunities for safety, growth, choice and dignity. We dare to imagine a future which values the intangibles as much as the tangibles – our environment, human connection and the arts.
Greater Good Leaders take radical responsibility for the challenges in the world. We do not shift to blame others or shirk away from these responsibilities, but we take them on – together with others, with all the vulnerability of not knowing the answers. We live and act with integrity and take on our leadership duties with the greatest sense of honor and responsibility.
Greater Good Leaders hone our strengths and talents to face these challenges and responsibility. We act with humility through always listening, learning and building trust with others. We focus on changing ourselves first – growing our talents as well as understanding of the world. Leadership is not about me – but it is personal. We can only start with me – improve me, transform me – then we can attend to the global transformations we seek.
Now more than ever, we need a moral revolution, a moral compass to guide our leadership. We are yearning for something different – from our political leaders, business leaders and community leaders.
Here are 9 reasons we need Greater Good Leadership more than ever
1. We want to trust our leaders again
There is an all-time low level of trust in leaders and institutions – from government, politics, business or religious organisations. Trust has been broken and it needs to be repaired.
We want to trust our leaders – we want leaders who have honed their competence to perform their job well, leaders who care deeply and listen to concerns, and who are genuine and sincere in their words, actions and decisions. We’ve over leaders talking one way and acting another – you lose all respect, trust and credibility.
2. We want leaders who are ethical
An individual has not started living until they can rise above the narrow confines of their individualistic concerns to the broad concerns of all humanity”
— Jeff Klein, Author, Working for Good
Great success, profits and power can’t be at the expense of people or the community as a whole. Unfortunately, we see leaders who are willing to overlook wrongdoing if it benefits their success. Greater Good Leaders view performances within the lens of ethics, asking what has been the means to create this success.
Being ethical in your decision making and actions is core to greater good leadership. Being a person of integrity, honoring your word and doing the right thing even when no one is watching.
We want leaders who walk the talk who are inspiring people who lead by example. Our actions matter more than our words. Every day we show our values through our words, actions and decisions – what are you communicating through your behaviours today? Greater Good Leaders are cognisant of the values that drive our behaviours and work hard to ensure we are reflecting our values clearly.
3. We want leaders who take responsibility
Making the choice to take full responsibility is the foundation of true personal and relational transformation”
— The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership
Leaders who blame and shame others for the problems we face are tiring. We seek leaders who take responsibility – radical 100% responsibility. These leaders understand they may not have created the problems but they will definitely not be part in continuing them. We must be accountable for our words and actions and openly acknowledge our mistakes when they occur. We are all human. We are all learners.
4. We want leaders with true vision and imagination
What does following in the footsteps of everyone else get you? It gets you to exactly the same conclusions as everyone else.”
— Ryan Holiday
The goal posts have moved – we want goals and ambitions, vision and futures with less greed, corruption, pollution and poverty and more wellbeing, connection, ethics and dignity. We need to inspire long term thinking, audacious goals as well as small incremental change. We ought to encourage leaders to dream of what could be – looking for solutions which are inclusive and sustainable. We need leaders who are willing to challenge the status quo and with that the traditional powers.
5. We want leaders who display courage
People see the injustice in the world. We want change. We see the discrimination, greed and corruption, and we need to see these injustices brought to justice. Otherwise we lose confidence in our democracy.
This takes true courage – the ability to face discomfort and be brave to work towards the greater good. Courage means using your voice, standing up for what you believe in, seeing things from different perspectives and working together with others.
6. We need more than a strong man – we need diversity
We’ve seen a resurgence of a ‘strong man leadership’ with global leaders exhibiting tough guy, hyper-masculine toxicity. We’ve also seen the world see the race discrimination that still infilitrates our structures, norms and behaviours. One man, race or country does not have all the answers to solve the complex problems of the world. We need now more than ever, a diverse collective to overcome the challenges we face. We must embrace diversity in all its forms, be willing to listen and learn, and seek conversations for understanding.
This is love work. Love is one of those words that is hard to define. But in the context of this work, here is what it means to me: It means you do this work because you believe in something greater than your own self-gain. It means you do this work because you believe that every human being deserves dignity, freedom, and equality. It means you do this work because you desire wholeness for yourself and the world. It means you do this work because you want to become a good ancestor. It means you do this work because love is not a verb to you but an action. It means you do this work because you no longer want to intentionally or unintentionally harm BIPOC”
— Layla Saad, Author, Me and White Supremacy: How to Recognise Your Privilege, Combat Racism and Change the World
7. We value more than just the bottom line
We can no longer afford false divisions between work and community, between ethics and economics. But how can we change from a system which values endless increasing profit and materialism to one in which the core values are community, caring for the environment, creating, growing things and personal development? We empower people. There aren’t many motivating forces more potent than giving your staff an opportunity to exercise and express their idealism”.
— Anita Roddick, Founder, The Body Shop and Author, Business as Unusual
There is more to the world than profits. We need meaning, we need well-being, we need connection, we need a clean and enduring environment. These goals don’t even need to be in opposition to money and growth but we need to re-imagine it’s relationship. Conscious capitalism is re-envisioning what could be and it’s the way of the future.
8. We want vulnerability from our leaders
Our ability to be daring leaders will never be greater than our capacity for vulnerability”
— Brene Brown, Researcher and Author, Dare to Lead
Greater Good Leadership requires vulnerability. We don’t know all the answers and we can’t be perfect. Brené Brown describes vulnerability as “uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.” It’s that unstable feeling we get when we step out of our comfort zone or do something that we can’t control the outcome. Greater Good leaders commit to showing up and doing the work anyway.
9. We want leaders who work for our most disadvantaged
Greater Good leaders are characterised not by what they get (power, fame, fortune) but what they give. They put themselves last – they serve others first. They are working beyond their own self interest and instead have a genuine concern for others. They put themselves in other people’s shoes. They listen and work together with people. Do you give more to the world than what you take?
We are the leaders we desire…
Greater Good Leaders are not out there waiting to be discovered. We need to be the leaders we desire. In these challenging times, we must not seek outside, we must seek inside ourselves to grow into the best leaders we can be in this moment in history. To improve ourselves so together we can improve the world around us.
Want to join the Greater Good Collective? Launching 1 March
On 1 March, I’m launching the Greater Good Collective, a 3 month personal leadership journey to live and lead courageously to create a better world.