A common conclusion of all studies on our cultures is that we are definitely different. This is not really a great contribution but rather just a common knowledge. And this conclusion is what mostly challenged me. To successfully lead people you need to find what binds the people together and not what separates them.
Within globalization processes people that are now to work together do not come only from the same cultural background but were raised also in different cultures. And leaders are to take into consideration this new dimension, while, due to current perpetuating crisis, at the same time dealing with finding a way, a fresh and new leadership approach. And the stress should be put on the change of leadership practices and not only on a repainting of current ones. To introduce a new approach to leadership, the book “Leadership by Virtue” takes a different venue – a way that brings Far-East concepts into Western approaches and entangles both.
The “Leadership by Virtue” approach is not about the instruction on how and what to do. It is rather a complex interlinked method to change oneself first. Accordingly, it is not ‘externally oriented’, as the case is in most of the Western culture’s way of management or leadership methodologies. Here the book takes more Far-East tactic and is dedicated to ‘internal self’.
How does it work?
Our thoughts, feelings, opinions and other mental belongings as well as our physical appearance are different. How can a third person change this? There’s hardly a way. We can subdue people, but not conquer their minds. Managers mostly ignore this, but the exceptional leaders never do. How, then, do we lead people today? There are many different approaches. In my opinion, the prevailing method is still through fear and push, at least I have witnessed it many times during my professional career. Does it bear desired results? Probably it works in some specific environments (military forces, police), but in most organizations and institutions it does not.
The studies show that we are different – but at the same time we are also the same. Within all the people our joints move the same way. We all have the same genetic code. Our reactions and instincts are most of the times very the same. We share same feelings like love, hate, fear, joy … and other studies show that our behavior is predictable in a lot of situations. Therefore, we share a lot in common, too. To change current leadership practices could we then use these common points?
We are probably all aware that the only “thing” we can change is ourselves. We just cannot, (frequently should not) change others. It is a mistake to forcefully do it because we are all unique and special, and this is what we should bring out. But when you change yourself – then the behavior toward you correspondingly changes, too. And whenever you complain why is something happening to you, remember that the main answer is very probably in you. If you are hesitant to accept this just watch the movie “La vita è bella“.
Why don’t we use it?
Most people try to conceal who they really are. They publicly show of themselves what they believe is appropriate. But you can fool some people some of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time. At the end you only fool yourself by not accepting for what you really are. To be able to live in harmony with yourself and your surrounding you most probably have to change your current behavior or reactions. And by doing it you will subsequently influence others to alternate their behavior in response to yours. This is what I meant by ‘internally oriented’ approach and is the essence of a proposed new leadership way.
What I have used is actually a very old knowledge. It occupied the Chinese during dynastic cycles, the pattern of many eras in Chinese history that I’ve described in my previous posts. The Way, Dào in Chinese, of Leadership by Virtue is not about teaching or instructing. Nor is it enforcing a change. You are alone to accept or reject it, to change or not, to apply or not.