The future is here, though it is not evenly distributed. . . We are witnessing an era where it seems we need to unlearn the way we have been doing things, to learn and create new ones that better respond to a new reality. . . an era where collaboration, caring and trust appear to be imperative.
We are living a time in which organizations need to generate a healthy and responsible profit by providing what the society really needs, never at the expense of the people or the planet. This massive shift is causing that organizational management practices focus on humans rather than processes or skills; therefore, the job of leaders is changing to create the conditions for people to feel more connected to each other, contribute positively, have a sense of meaning and be happy. Leaders can no longer lead from the top, from status, hierarchy or power; they need to create the spaces for more meaningful work life experiences.
Researcher Rasmus Hougaard describes that we are going through a crisis in leadership, where there is being a latent need for changing leaders’ behaviors and values, and indicates three essential qualities that organizations are currently looking for their leadership:
The first one is mindfulness, which is the ability to be present, self-aware; the ability to bring one’s attention to what is occupying us with a non-judgmental attitude of openness, curiosity and care. When attention is focused, directed, free from bias, and sharpened by penetrating insight and logical investigation, it helps us to ascertain reality correctly. Neuroscientists point out that attaining and sustaining mindful states result not only in effectiveness, adaptive capacity, space of mind; but when caring and consideration are included it opens fundamental qualities of the human being. Mindfulness has become foundational for leadership nowadays.
The second one is selflessness, an attitude not centered on egoistic impulses, but instead an open one that let us see a bigger perspective. A self-centered attitude not only corrupts our behavior, narrows our vision, makes us rude, closes us to feedback, but also puts us in a bubble where we only see what pleases our ego. On the contrary, behavioral experts claim that a selfless leadership behavior strongly favors engagement, a sense of belongingness and recognition, as well as, creativity and innovation.
The third one is compassion, which is the intention to be of benefit to others, and it is essentially a wholesome, positive state of mind. Compassionate leadership is having the clarity and wisdom of making tough decisions for the common good beyond the organization, it is naturally being open to others. It has been observed that organizations with more compassionate cultures and leaders have stronger connections between people, better collaboration and higher trust.
These three qualities do not come from any leadership training and development program, but rather from real and deep personal development; because leadership is more about who authentically we are, our values, and behaviors than what we do and how smart we are. . .