Before revealing the most important leadership attribute, we need to define leadership. There are obviously a lot of definitions out there, but let’s define it this way:
Leadership is the ability to lead others in making the world a better place to live for all. It shows no favoritism towards race, gender, age, or status. Leadership supports improving the quality of life of everyone while upholding peace through a general acceptance of core values. These values include the sanctity of life and the freedom to choose one’s belief system, as long as this belief system harms no one. Leadership ensures that people are compensated fairly for their labor and acknowledges that while some may have more than others, that there is a responsibility of the rich to assist the poor.
The point I want to make here, is that leadership is not just about getting results. Why? Because people like Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein were all leaders, who achieved tragic results. With the dangerous technology that leaders have at their disposal today, we must start to define leadership differently. We cannot afford to continue on our current course.
For those of you in business, we also cannot afford to continue our current practices. Confidence of the American people in their government is at an all time low. Business leadership is turning capitalism into a joke. If leadership is all about making a profit regardless of the expense to the environment or others, then we might as well go back to having royalty and serfs. For society to thrive leaders need to have one important leadership attribute – compassion.
Compassion is a must. Without it, leaders will go astray. Compassion will help leaders balance their actions to benefit as many people as possible while hurting relatively few. Compassion will increase our ability to deal with our differences in a civil manner. It will allow for power, as long as power is used appropriately. Compassion will ensure that the poor will be take care of as the rich will have compassion on them. Compassion does not necessarily mean an end to war. In fact, it may call for war if there are those out there who oppress others. But, war will come less often, and when it does, we will treat our enemies with compassion.
What about you? Are you compassionate with those that you lead? Or, are you leading just for the accolades? The money, the power, the prestige? Are you leading compassionately, even to those who may think differently? Do you “hate” your opposition? Management? Unions? Employees? Consultants? Government Workers? Do you “hate” those with a different religious belief system? Or, are you compassionate?
Compassion. We are all in this world together. It is a melting pot of many different views and opinions. We must learn to have compassion for each other if, as leaders, we really hope to make a difference.
Lead With Honor!
Lead With Compassion!