By Linda Fisher Thornton
What is Meaningful Leadership? Making a Difference By Building a Better Society For the Future
In Part 1 of this series we looked at how leaders generate meaningful environments where others can thrive. In Part 2 we explored a leader’s own quest for authenticity. In Part 3 we looked at the role of powerful conversations and a focus on relational ROI. In Part 4, we examined how meaningful leadership requires truth-seeking based on ethical values. In Part 5 we’ll take a look at how meaningful leadership makes a difference by building a better society for the future.
Meaningful leadership sees the world in terms of building a better future together. The important focus on together requires not drawing lines around “better” or “worse” people or creating “in” and “out” groups.
“My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.”
— Desmond Tutu
Meaningful leadership invests in building a better future together. That means making hard decisions today that will get us closer to a peaceful, safe society that works for everyone. In order to make this commitment, meaningful leadership requires being able to imagine such a future.
“I know of no single formula for success. But over the years I have observed that some attributes of leadership are universal and are often about finding ways of encouraging people to combine their efforts, their talents, their insights, their enthusiasm and their inspiration to work together.”
— Queen Elizabeth II
Beyond imagining a better future, meaningful leadership requires actualizing it. That means making choices every day that show commitment to collective well-being on a global scale.
“The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity.”
— Leo Tolstoy
Is My Leadership Meaningful?
Meaningful leadership cannot be accomplished by talking about meaning. It must go much deeper than that. Evaluate how your leadership measures up by exploring these three questions:
If others carry on the work I have started into the future, what will be the net effect of my leadership in each of the areas of meaningful leadership below?
Meaningful Leadership Means:
- Making a difference by creating positive work settings that invite meaningful work
- Taking the difficult journey to becoming an authentic leader
- Inviting difficult conversations about how to live out ethical values in difficult situations
- Placing a high priority of positive interpersonal behavior that brings out people’s best
- Excavating the layers of meaning and truth in complex issues using ethical values
- Imagining a better future, in a peaceful, safe society that works for everyone
- Helping to build that better future together, on a local, national and global scale
How closely is my leadership aligned with building a better future together?
What could I do to improve, starting today, in at least one area on that list?
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Unleash the Positive Power of Ethical Leadership®
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