Wanted: Courageous, Humble Leaders
- Today's leaders need to align their interests with those of new generations of stakeholders who prioritize the well-being of people and planet.
- A new leadership playbook—based on radical collaboration, radical inclusion, and radical transparency—can help guide organizations, and accordingly business schools, to more meaningful success.
- Developing a clear inner-compass can help leaders navigate beyond the many and varied challenges that will arise throughout their careers.
Halla Tómasdóttir: [0:15] Success for business and the leaders that run businesses can no longer be about delivering or maximizing shareholder wealth. We're in a new era. Even if you want to deliver and maximize shareholder wealth, you cannot do it if you don't align your interest with that of new generations of employees, customers, and shareholders.
[0:39] In a way, now, if you're not thinking about the wellbeing of people and the wellbeing of our shared planet at the heart of how you deliver profit, you're probably not going to be a future fit or successful in business for long.
[0:53] We often talked about this new leadership playbook being built on the pillars of radical collaboration, bridging divide, radical inclusion, bridging the gender, racial, generational, even the Global South Global North gaps in leadership.
[1:07] Then radical transparency, being really good at disclosing what our ambition is, what our actions are to deliver that ambition, and even what we are advocating for or against, which also brings me to that businesses need transparency around who and what they support in politics and who and what they support when it comes to their lobbying impacts.
Success for business and the leaders that run businesses can no longer be about delivering or maximizing shareholder wealth.
[1:31] This is a new leadership playbook that most businesses are not necessarily living up to and therefore I'm not sure business schools are either. This is the new leadership playbook we need to be training leaders to help deliver if we are going to successfully address the challenges we now face.
[1:49] The two key attributes or characteristics leaders need to show up and be fit for this moment in history is, in equal doses, courage, to be bold enough to confront the conformity or the crisis of conformity we have in leadership where we continue to do the same things and expect different outcomes.
[2:11] The other attribute I would uplift is humility, to understand that no one person, no one organization has all the answers anymore. We need to be humble enough to understand that we need to surround ourselves with other people that make us stronger and better.
[2:27] The era of hubris in leadership has brought us to a pretty difficult state of the world. Now we need humble leaders, but yet courageous leaders to challenge the status quo and be good at bringing out different stakeholders that are needed to solve these challenges together. Courage and humility would be the two critical attributes that we at The B Team believe are needed.
We need humble leaders, but yet courageous leaders to challenge the status quo and be good at bringing out different stakeholders that are needed to solve these challenges together.
[2:50] I really think that teaching individuals to develop a clear inner compass to guide them where they become absolutely clear about their own purpose and the principles that guide them on this challenging journey that being a leader is. I think anybody is a leader if they want to. Any of us can unlock leadership in service of a better world.
[3:15] If you don't have any guidance, all these challenges that come our way from climate change, to nature collapse, to inequality, and all kinds of ways that is creating social upheaval in the world, to the low trust, to the COVID crisis, and other pandemics that may come, to the fact that we're now at war in the world, all of these challenges. They will keep coming. That's the new normal.
[3:38] How do you stay resilient in the face of all of that? You do by having a clear inner compass. It starts with the individual. We should learn this in business school. We should learn to develop it. Leaders who learn to lead in line with their true inner authentic compass, they're able to give that kind of a compass to their organizations.
[3:58] I think that's the only way to stay the course during difficult time. If you don't have that, you just react to tough realities and ultimately either burn out or suffer from what I would say is the disease of capitalism, which is short termism of trying to deliver in the short term knowing very well it comes at the expense of what really is needed for the long term.