Extend Peace In Order to Receive It
In this Joyous Season, it seems like a good time to reflect on our leadership role in building peace and trust. Peace is one of those things that requires reaching out. Just as we must extend trust to receive it from others, we must also extend peace in order to receive it. When each side watches and waits for the other party to extend peace, they create a stalemate that is unresolvable…until someone takes the first step and reaches out.
Peace is More Than the Absence of Violence
What is peace? Below is the Wikipedia definition. Notice that this definition describes multiple dimensions that go well beyond the absence of violence.
“Peace is a state of harmony characterized by the lack of violent conflict and the freedom from fear of violence. Commonly understood as the absence of hostility, peace also suggests the existence of healthy or newly healed interpersonal or international relationships, prosperity in matters of social or economic welfare, the establishment of equality, and a working political order that serves the true interests of all. In international relations, peacetime is not only the absence of war or violent conflict, but also the presence of positive and respectful cultural and economic relationships.”
Peace is about much more than a lack of violence. It is about positive and respectful relationships. In order to resolve the “waiting for the other party to extend peace” stalemate, we must work toward peace even when that seems impossible. We cannot force it, but must tend it like a garden, nurturing good behaviors and weeding out those that generate dischord or show disrespect.
Reflecting On Leadership, Power and Collaboration
In The Power Paradox, Dacher Keltner explains that force is not equivalent to power anymore:
“As we debunk long-standing myths and misconceptions about power, we can better identify the qualities powerful people should have, and better understand how they should wield their power. As a result, we’ll have much less tolerance for people who lead by deception, coercion, or undue force. No longer will we expect these kinds of antisocial behaviors from our leaders and silently accept them when they come to pass…We’ll also start to demand something more from our colleagues, our neighbors, and ourselves.”
Dacher Keltner, The Power Paradox, GreaterGood.Berkeley.edu
One of my favorite books about how leaders can move from conflict to collaboration is Leading Through Conflict by Mark Gerzon. He provides a set of leadership capabilities that we can develop that help us move from wherever we are now to positive, collaborative relationships.
Peace is Something We Create
Peace is not something we simply hope for or wait for. It’s something that we create through our everyday actions and relationships. As we enter the New Year, may we all:
- Be open to learning from others
- Understand that power in leadership means humility, compassion and social intelligence, not force
- Respect others and differences, and
- Actively extend trust and peace
Extending Peace to You This Holiday Season
I hope that you enjoy the timeless quotes about peace that follow. Notice how they focus on individual action, mutual understanding and individual responsibility.
Reflections On Peace
Nobody can bring you peace but yourself.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
It isn’t enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work at it.
Peace and friendship with all mankind is our wisest policy, and I wish we may be permitted to pursue it.
If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.
Those who are at war with others are not at peace with themselves.
Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding. Ralph Waldo Emerson
Peace is liberty in tranquillity.
Marcus Tullius Cicero
Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will be as one. John Lennon
Many thanks to all of you who have connected this year to share ideas about leading ethically in a complex world. Have a Joyful Holiday Season and a Happy New Year!
Linda Fisher Thornton is Adjunct Assistant Professor of Leadership for the University of Richmond School of Professional and Continuing Studies. She is also CEO/Owner of Leading in Context LLC, a leadership development consulting firm helping business leaders lead responsibly in a complex world.
2014 Axiom Business Book Award Winner About 7 Lenses Info@LeadinginContext.com @leadingincontxt @7Lenses
© 2012 Leading in Context LLC