Leaders who wish to be respected in their particular fields all talk glibly about the “new world of work” and how everybody has to understand that they need to change and reskill themselves for the future. But the actions of these same leaders reveal they show no interest in practising what they preach.
The power of moral leadership lies in the fact that it does not lead by the “Do as I say,” method but by the, “Do as I do,” approach. When a leader walks the talk, they put themselves in an unassailable position by setting an example that others cannot help but follow.
Yet as we look around the world, both in the political and business arenas, we see few leaders who appear to show any understanding of this. They conduct themselves on the basis that there are a different set of rules that apply to them – because they’re leaders.
And that’s one of the reasons why leadership is in the sorry state it is today …
Now what causes this blindness, this inability for leaders to see that they actually need to make some rather crucial changes in their own lives?
In my interactions with leaders of all shapes and sizes and at all levels of society and business, I’ve come to believe it boils down to the fact that they operate on the basis of the following principle: what they THINK they KNOW to be RIGHT and TRUE.
Now don’t miss the significance of this.
Every single human being alive (including you and me) lives their life based on what they think they know to be right and true, so you may be tempted to think I’m making something out of nothing.
Not true. Ask yourself where we all get what we think we know to be right and true from and you’ll have to recognise that it was from those who had influence in our lives when we were young and impressionable – our parents, relatives, caregivers, teachers and such like people. And where did they get what they think they know to be right and true from? Their parents, relatives, caregivers, teachers …
We then start to realise that what we think we know to be right and true could be 100 years old – and no longer valid or true. Quick hint: there was a time that people thought it right and true that the world was flat – but now we know that was never right and true!
The double whammy that leaders don’t realise they face is that they have come to trust what they think they know to be right and true because, after all, that’s what got them to success in the first place!
So they simply can’t imagine that what they think they know to be right and true – is possibly not.
This is one of the reasons I take leaders who attend my leadership masterclasses through a process that helps them to challenge what they think they know to be right and true. And when they do, they’re surprised at how they start to see things differently.
And that, in a nutshell, is one of the reasons leaders aren’t able to adapt to the future world of work.
Reflect on the way you’ve been living your life, conducting business or leading people, and make a decision to consciously challenge what you think you know to be right and true. You will start to open your mind to new ideas, new ways of thinking and new perspectives that you were blind to while you operated with a closed mindset.
Come the day leaders are actually prepared to be courageous enough to challenge what they think they know to be right and true, they will make the necessary changes that their followers are crying out for – and they will be far better able to lead their people into the future world of work with competence and confidence!
PS If you’re interested in opening your mind to what’s beyond the here and now so that you can lead people into a better future, HR Future 2020 Masterclasses.
Alan Hosking is the Publisher of HR Future magazine, @HRFuturemag, and helps business leaders prepare for the Future of Work. In 2018, he was named by US-based web site Disruptordaily.com as one of the “Top 25 Future of Work Influencers to Follow on Twitter“. For more information on Alan’s programme to “Turn your Executive Team into a Jazz Band” in which he uses his classical and jazz musician knowledge and skills to show executive teams how to make the shift from orchestra to jazz band, email him at email@example.com.