- "Increasing influence as a leader and working in an interdependent world requires the ability to truly connect with and inspire people, internally and externally.”
- Leadership is now about “…the recognition of interdependence and the need for thoughtful collaboration…”
- “Transformation is not just about business, but about the movement to a more egalitarian society.”
Yet if we look around us, most examples of corporate leadership do not model connection, inspiration, thoughtful collaboration or social egalitarianism. It’s clear that we’ve lost trust in corporate and political leaders. David Maister’s famous “trust equation” (T = C+R+I / SO) suggests why: he states that trust is a result of recognising someone’s credibility (their skills), plus their reliability (do they keep their promises?), and degree of intimacy (their ability to be personal and to engage emotionally) divided by our sense of the person’s degree of self-orientation. Basically, the more we perceive that someone acts through self-interest rather than for the collective good, the less likely we are to trust them. Most credible research today suggests that challenges are less predictable, knowledge is less reliable and influence is less vested in individuals – so leaders need to cultivate self- and systemic awareness. But I don’t think this goes far enough. I’m always amazed that leadership education – through formal courses in Business Schools as well as informally through the consultants, coaches and other “Trusted Advisers” that Maister describes – does not focus more explicitly on the human capacities of kindness and care. “Love” is still a dirty, four-letter word in most organisational circles. Yet it is the sine qua non of personal, organisational and social transformation. “Love” in this global commercial context does not mean something pink and fluffy. It is not about romance. It is not even about customer care, or total shareholder return. For me, it is about hard-wiring results for the greater whole, and over several generations. If we believed that corporate leaders were facing in to the truly strategic challenge of planning for the common good, they’d get (as the marketers call it) “share of pocket” and “share of mind.” And we’d all be the richer for it. What do you think? Should we be exploring and practising “love” as leaders? And if so, how?