First we need to look at what leadership is and what it could be. Today, so many people understand leadership as another word for being boss. That means they tell others what to do, when and how to do it. The focus is on how much profit can I make and what can I do to maximize it. This type of leader operates from the Kingdom of ME
The other kind of leadership is where the leader listens and values the opinions of those that are on the ‘frontline’. The leaders is interesting in learning, in being aware of what is out there and how it might impact him/her or the business. She/he is looking at how the choices that are being made impact the people around them and the environment, now and in the future. This is a leader who operates from the Kingdom of WE.
As you can see, there are drastic differences between these two styles of leadership; not only in the approach, but also in the results that get achieved. People feel valued and not used or abused. Because of the willingness to be aware, there is creativity and a level of preparedness for what the future might bring.
I am part of a global movement called Benevolent Leadership. The word benevolent comes from the Latin bene and volent, meaning wishing well for all. As you can see, this is close to what I described as the second style of leadership. What are the characteristics of a benevolent leader:
- A benevolent leader is aware of what is going on around them and recognizes that they are the creator of everything in their lives.
- A benevolent leader asks what it will take to create more in the world and for everybody, not just themselves.
- A benevolent leader is pragmatic, has generosity of spirit and looks at the futures that can be created.
- A benevolent leader functions from awareness, not from conclusion to create a sustainable future for the planet and the people.
The last two points require the ability to step outside of contextual reality. What does that mean? We look for the reasons why something is happening which puts it into the context of what we call reality. We all have the ability to step outside of it. We all have the ability for awareness. Awareness is more than intuition; it is constant. It requires conscious choice. We have been entrained to contextual reality where we rely on our thoughts, feelings and emotions. What if there is something completely different to rely on: awareness?
Being a benevolent leader means becoming a catalyst for change. We begin to look at a different way of being in the world, both as an individual as well as a business in order to have sustainability. This means being willing to perceive where we will end up if we continue the way we have operated up to now and where we could be if we are willing to perceive and implement possibilities. One way to do this is to ask a question like: Where will my life / my family / the world / the planet be in 5 years if I choose this? And again with … don’t choose this. There is no way for us to have a cognitive answer to that question. We can sense, though, the energy that comes up when asking that question. Is that energy contractive, heavy or expansive, light? Choosing what is expansive will inevitably lead to creating more for all.