One of my favorite progressive news commentators in Thom Hartmann. A month or so ago, I tuned in to hear Thom in the middle of a rant (he does many!) about an article or book he had recently read that listed seven qualities of an effective and compassionate leader. Of course he was ranting about the lack thereof these qualities in many of our country’s leaders. I did not catch the author’s name and can’t seem to locate them online so unfortunately can’t give credit here where credit is due.
Those seven qualities (in no particular order) are: intelligent, moral, foresight, empathy, curiosity, introspective and brazen.
Of course leaders must be intelligent. There are many types of intelligence however. To me the intelligence necessary is not just cerebral or academic but also includes wisdom that arises from a deep study of mind/body/spirit connection.
When the above innate intelligence is connected to on a regular basis, foresight appears. The ability to know or to intuit is a skill that is developed over time. It arises out of a deep practice of embodied understanding.
When this deep knowing is accessed, practiced, and recognized a natural morality appears. A morality that supports life. A morality that can do no harm and always serves the higher interconnected Web of Life–the higher good.
Of course this requires open curiosity at all times. The ability to stand with a curious presence to each moment. Non-judgmental yet discerning differences with wonder. I believe accessing curiosity is one of the most important and foundational qualities of a leader.
Curiosity leads to introspection naturally. Discerning sensory differences and changes allows one to ‘try on’ new possibilities and to consider challenges and the unknown in an embodied way.
This is what true empathy is. The ability to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes as my grandfather used to say. He lived to be over one hundred years of age and was a true model of empathy for me.
The courage to stand up and go forth into the unknown takes a quality of being brazen. This brazen quality must be connected to all of the other qualities or it becomes arrogant and selfish. Healthy brazen quality is confident yet compassionate.
Of course all of these seven qualities are interconnected and overlapping. They are nested within each other and non-linear. They co-develop and evolve. Building skill in one or more opens up the possibility to co-build depth, breadths and endurance in all the others.
How are you cultivating these qualities in your own life? How may you be supporting these qualities in your family, friends, co-workers and children? We are all leaders or potential leaders for each other at various given moments.
From where I sit, cultivating these qualities in a healthy way can only co-create the change we want to see and be in our shared dynamic and ever-changing and expanding world.
Will you be a co-student of life’s developing leaders with me? We require your unique energy to be present!