Thursday, January 04, 2007

What are the characteristics of true leadership?

"The Spirituality in Leadership" in Spirituality & Health's November-December 2006 issue is available in the magazine's archives. In this Care of the Soul column, Thomas Moore answers,"How can we turn around today's self-destructive pattern of leadership?" by concluding,
We can shed the narcissistic secularity of the times and step outside the circle of self-regard that contains us. Parents can take on the joys and the weight of their spiritual calling and help their children sort out their values and find their active place in a needy society. Teachers can understand that theirs is a spiritual calling: They are not just imparting information but initiating children into a world where they will be leaders in their own ways. Businesspeople can see that in a materialistic approach to society, their efforts are merely for money, self-advancement, and personal success. If they can appreciate the spirituality in their daily work, they might enjoy a position of leadership where they can contribute directly to a society of peace, equality, and security.
We followers, members of the community, can go all out in honoring those who demonstrate spiritual vision and a big soul. We can also voice our concern when leaders fail in that vision and immaturely confuse personal gain with the joy of community. In other words, you — whoever you are — have a spiritual calling. You have a role in your family and community to lead with a big vision and deep values, not with ideological moralism. It does little good to wait for a leader like Gandhi or Martin Luther King. You can begin today to lead with wide open and transcendent vision, deep ethics, and tender compassion. You can also encourage your leaders to do the same, transforming self-interest into radical care for every person, every being, and the planet itself. Anything less is not worthy of being called leadership in a time of urgent need and threat to life.”
Thomas Moore's column for January-February 2007, which will be available at the end of February, is titled, "Growing through Grief."