Living your leadership values

The world can be a complicated place. Most of us probably don’t really know what goes on behind the closed doors of government, big business, the industrialists, the money movers, the media moguls. There is a small band of mostly men whose pursuit of wealth, property and power has direct impact on you and me. The decisions these people take affect the ebb and flow of money, the global movement of trade, the availability and price of goods and services and oil, the availability and distribution of food and medicine, the quantity and quality of information and other things that affect our daily lives. And we live in the hope, forlorn for many, that these people won’t destroy the world or make it unsafe or unhealthy for too many world citizens. We like to think that these are people who make decisions which are not only economically sound, but also socially and environmentally responsible. Decisions that will enable more people around the world to live healthily and peacefully tomorrow than do today. Now you don’t have to be a conspiracist or extremist (just a realist) to believe that we are often lied to by government; or that the politicians and their advisers, and the industrialists and financiers of the world sometimes make decisions which are to the extreme detriment of millions of people. And when one of their own, James Wolfensohn, the wealthy former investment banker who heads the World Bank in Washington DC says that the world is out of kilter, maybe we better listen harder than ever before. Some of Mr Wolfensohn’s views as reported by Roy Ecclestone in The Australian, February 4, 2004, the rich minority on the planet live for today and don’t see the deluge of impoverished people about to descend on them during the next 30 years. The world’s developed countries spend vast amounts on arms but only a fraction on aid. There’s a protectionist mood in the US and Europe at present and that’s a problem because without free trade the poor countries can’t prosper. All these things add up to poverty and despair for many of the 5 billion people in the developing world, and help fuel terrorism and extremism. If a Martian were to land here, Wolfensohn mused recently, it would report home that this planet is crazy. “If you cant give them hope, which comes from getting a job or doing something productive, giving them their self-respect, these people become the basis on which terrorists or renegades or advocacy groups can flourish. It’s an essentially unstable situation. If you cannot deal with the question of hope or economic security, there is no way that with military expenditure you can have peace. I think you could spend US2 trillion on military expenditure, but if you do nothing about poverty and development you’re not going to have stability.” What has this to do with a column on leadership and management you are screaming as you tear your hair out and grind those teeth again? Consider this - the attitudes of global leaders, like those described above, influence the behaviour of the leaders down the “food chain”. Observe whether your direct leaders are authentically valuing social and environmental requirements, or simply interested in their own agendas and monetary wealth. The reality may be this - our well-being is mostly influenced by leaders. Perhaps we need to develop the skill of “leading from any position, by living our values and setting an example that others are compelled to notice and follow.” Could we decide that we too can make a difference and lead for the benefit of all rather than for just the status quo? Or will we remain apathetic and easily distracted by the next Oscar awards or footy final. Or will we justify our apathy by saying, “It’s out of my hands and anyway I’ve got to pay off my mortgage and educate my kids.” Have you noticed that we get too tied up in our own struggle to manage our spiralling debt and busyness at the same time as the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer? Our current rash of world leaders are intent on remaining in power and in order to do that they will grow the status quo. Leadership and management in everyday life and the workplace suffers from this influence, and yet we can do something about it - simply act with integrity, live your shared values and do not compromise them. The only reason we don’t do this is because of fear. All that we don’t like, yet still tolerate, is held in place by our fears - nothing else - whether in the third world, our world, our community, our workplace or our homes. Simply, we can make a difference by living our values, setting a compelling example and overcoming our fears. No it’s not easy, but so what? Nothing worthwhile is easy. These articles are from the international best-selling books, ‘You Lead, They’ll Follow. How to inspire, lead and manage people. Really.’ Volumes 1, 2 and 3 by Daniel Kehoe published by McGraw Hill. Daniel Kehoe provides a range of tools for leadership, people management and business improvement to small, medium and large organizations including the You Lead, They’ll Follow Experience® and Systematic-Innovation® - one of the best ideas management systems on the planet. See T 08 9477 1135 E

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