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Three branches of leading for the sake of others

Dec 14, 2016

As recent months have highlighted the deep divisions among fellow citizens, it seems more important than ever for leaders to be modeling the way in living out values that supersede political persuasions. Here are three interrelated values that seem particularly relevant as we find a path forward:

Civility: There’s a temptation to overlook the humanity of our fellow citizens and focus instead on what we find offensive about their views. But civility runs the other direction – looking past our disagreements to our shared humanity. Leaders must learn to exercise civility to find common ground with fellow leaders and with their followers, and create momentum toward a shared vision.

Diversity: It can be tempting for all of us to indulge in an echo chamber of media and relationships that reinforce our own opinions. When was the last time you read an article from a disagreeing point of view to better understand the reasoning or values behind different perspectives? This extends beyond policy positions to relationships. If most of our daily interactions occur with those that have similar life experiences to our own, we miss out on the well-roundedness that comes from broadening our networks. One simple step is to become more intentional about building relationships with those whose backgrounds are completely different than our own, and glimpse the world through their lenses.

Ethics: Ethics may seem completely different—though no less important—than diversity and civility, yet they are definitely related. Ethics comes down to trustworthiness beyond the notice of others. Famously known as “what one does when no one’s looking,” ethics provides the barometer of motivation: whether one’s character is a function of internal or external motivation. If it’s externally motivated, ethical breakdowns occur when one’s beyond the notice of others. If one’s character is internally driven, their character will be consistent regardless of the presence or absence of others. This speaks to integrity – when values integrate across public and private, personal and professional, values are consistently applied.

These three values intertwine and spring from the same core character in a leader: the orientation toward others. In valuing civility, we acknowledge that respect for others matters as much as our own views. In diversity, we acknowledge the voices and stories of others matter as much as our own. And in ethics, we acknowledge our responsibilities to others know no boundaries. 

The individual leaders we admire model civility, diversity, and ethics as they lead for the sake of others. Through experiences like Leadership Akron’s Spring CLI, they translate this to a community level, broadening their roles to leading for the sake of the community’s well-being. If you’re looking to connect talent in your organization to fellow leaders who are seeking to advance these principles of leadership, our Spring CLI is a great place to plug them in. 

Visit the Spring CLI page.

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