|Posted on 12 March, 2019 at 13:15|
Leadership expert Warren Bennis says, “We must think carefully about our paths before we set out on them, for by the time a person discovers that his path ‘has no heart,’ the path is ready to kill him. At that point few of us have the courage to abandon the path, lethal as it may be, because we have invested so much in it, have become so successful at it, and to choose a new path seems dangerous, even irresponsible, and so we continue dutifully, if joylessly along.”
All we have to do is watch the news these days to see that the path we are on is, quite literally, killing us. An escalating sense of powerlessness and insecurity can be seen around the world as everyday events such as flying in a plane, going to work and opening our mail take on new meaning. It has become glaringly obvious that we must change paths, and we must change paths now. To effectively deal with the problems that have been created, each of us must do three things. First, we must find a path that does have a heart. Then, we must walk that path. Finally, we must walk it as leaders.
So how do you find a path that has a heart? By doing what you are passionate about or becoming passionate about what you do. By recognizing that your work is more than a job. By understanding that you don’t do anyone a favor, least of all yourself, by just showing up at work or at home and believing that is enough. By seeing your interactions with the people in your life as an opportunity to grow, learn and work with greater integrity.
When you find this path, you walk it by teaching, writing, supervising, investing, administrating, speaking, acting, etc. with a greater sense of purpose. Walking your “path with a heart” may mean creating a more harmonious environment in your classroom or workplace, writing a letter to your member of parliament, standing up for someone who is being ridiculed by others because they are different, investing in stock from businesses that operate ethically, starting a recycling program at work, joining an organization you believe in or facilitating workshops on higher living skills. Find what you are passionate about and become part of the solution.
Finally, learning how to be an effective leader is done by learning how to be an effective person. Be committed to change. Be unwilling to settle for anything less than the best in yourself. Live up to your own vision of excellence and use your unique talents to the fullest. Learn how to communicate effectively with others and show them that you care.
Warren Bennis also writes, “Our parents, our schools and our organizations all inadvertently conspire against us when they focus on the development of a career, with the rest of life merely an unanticipated consequence of the career, or even when they stress the how-to’s of a career rather than the why’s.”
Our education system, corporations and mass media are powerful tools for change. We could use them wisely and with integrity. Children could be taught higher living skills as well as textbook facts, corporations could place a higher emphasis on people instead of profits, and the media could be used to educate and uplift rather than instill hatred and fear.
Become a leader. Think about the changes you wish to see and then take appropriate action. Live peacefully with your family. Work harmoniously with your co-workers. Teach your children to live with integrity by doing so yourself. Take your best self to work and bring that same person home at night. Speak out in the world. Become an advocate for conscious local, federal and global partnership based on honesty, integrity and mutual gain.
Copyright © Julie Tkachuk
Published in The St. Albert Gazette on October 27, 2001