A Crisis of Leadership. A Crisis of Responsibility. Or Both?

Hristos a inviat!

Below, Imagine Leadership by Nitin Nohria and Amanda Pepper of Harvard Business School’s Leadership Initiative. Nohria and Pepper collaborated with XPLANE to create this video in order to generate a discussion of the value and importance of leadership to address some of society’s most pressing problems.

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Insight

“Corporations are not people…” says Klaus Bandisch (@friendsaround50) of Waikiki, Hawaii.

Global economic problems have revealed several underlying failures of modern society. Some represent recurring challenges ever bound to the human condition. Among them is the failure or lack of great leadership. It is an issue that cuts across borders, cultures, economies, industries and Hopes.

Here’s what we know: results and break-neck performance are king. And for good reason. We all love profit.

Here’s what we are starting to think about: Compassion and empathy are powerful management and leadership tools.

Business thinkers often fail, however, to emphasize that high emotional (or social) intelligence is when the heart can be applied to problem-solving with prudence and strategic practice. Alas, high emotional intelligence is not something you can easily grab off the shelf.

Crisis of Leadership

Leaders who care less about others find it easier to demand the impossible from others. They deceive and manipulate others without much or any conscience. Their betrayals, abuses, and failures tend to be cloaked in silence of their victims- but who really cares if no one is even willing acknowledge such issues. When they succeed, however, people of good intention and sincere contribution are scandalized and demoralized. The consequence is less total results and ever decreasing capability and commitment.

On the other hand, leaders who deeply care for others tend to get lost in gray questions. They also wait for others to give and contribute- as opposed to forcing the issue and getting it done. And they will wait long after things go wrong. The challenge of doing things the right way is that it often takes twice or more the effort, intention and heart.

If they are unwilling to make that extra commitment to do things the right way, they will always find themselves in the lose-lose at every step. And it sucks to be them. Big time. In fact, the results of emotionally-charged leaders tend not to impress – even if there is no loss of capability. Capability, of course, is not equivalent to performance expectations.

Responsibility

If we are to question the intentions and hearts of leaders, however, Board rooms and the market trends of investors will have to guide, support, and cherish the kind of leadership that does not end in confidence games – confidence games that play out only for the closest stake holders at the expense of human society and the common good.

For, certainly, if we all love profit and results, we all love perennial profits and results even more.

The Free Market (or Democratic Government) must not only pursue good conscience but, also, good will. It must be reminded that it is human and social endeavor and not a one-dimensional machine– because it is composed of human persons.

Corporations are nothing more than people. As are governments and other institutions. We must not forget this, Klaus. They and we share in a clear and common moral responsibility for our actions, our hopes, and our dreams.

Questions

But who shall lead and steer the Free Market to these seas uncharted?

How can we help and support compassionate, intelligent people in our organizations (profit, non-profit and government) to develop a higher emotional intelligence?

How will we identify them?

Stan Faryna
April 4, 2010
Bucharest

P.S. Happy Easter!

If you’d like to connect with me, follow @Faryna and tweet me up on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/faryna

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About Stan Faryna

Mr. Faryna is the founder and co-founder of several technology, design and communication companies in the United States and Europe including Faryna & Associates, Inc., Halo Interactive, and others.

Stan Faryna served as a Global Voices author and translator. Global Voices is a non-profit global citizens’ media project founded at Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, a research think-tank focused on the Internet’s impact on society.

His political, scholarly, social and technical opinions have appeared in The Chicago DefenderJurnalul NationalThe Washington TimesSagarSaptamana FinanciaraSocial Justice Review, and other publications.

Mr. Faryna also served as editor-in-chief of Black and Right (Praeger Press, 1996), a landmark collection of socio-political essays by important American thinkers including U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Copyright

Copyright 1996 to 2009 by Stan Faryna.

Here’s my fair use policy for my content:

If you want to share my content with your own audience, you may quote a brief excerpt, if and only if, you provide proper attribution (Source: The unofficial blog of Stan Faryna) with a direct link to the source. Generally speaking, as long as you are not acting as an agent or on behalf of a corporation or institution, I am not interested in any payment for the quotation or use of a complete article. Nevertheless, you may not republish or translate the entire article without my written permission. Send your request for permission by inmail through Linkedin. Or DM me at Twitter.

One Response to A Crisis of Leadership. A Crisis of Responsibility. Or Both?

  1. Inspirational video. Great stuff. As always.

    Couple of notes, though…

    No matter how much heart, good intent, good will, commitment and work hours a great and emotionally charged leader puts in, it is always these three questions that will decide the fate of his or her endeavour:

    The fist, and most important: “Is the mission worth-while?”

    Could you imagine Mr. Bill Gates investing all his foundation’s money towards finding a permanent cure for “athlete’s foot” or some other insignificant disorder?!?

    The second: “Is your team the right one?”

    The third and final: When it all goes bad, and it will, without exception, “when it goes bad, who will be there for you, who will you be relying on for leadership?!?”

    Sometimes the answer is God or a less personalized version of Him. Sometimes it’s not.

    Or, if you want the T-shirt version: “It’s the context stupid!!!”

    Cheers,
    M.
    Emotionally Charged Leader
    Available on Twitter @smihaialex

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