Andreas Dudàs has more than 20 years leadership experience gained in top executive positions in over 25 countries. Visionary entrepreneur, mentor, motivational speaker & expert on authentic (life) leadership, he is the author of Do You Dare To Be Yourself? Learn more at www.andreasdudas.com.
What the World Needs Now – Authentic leadership by Andreas Dudas
On the one hand, never throughout the entire history were human beings offered such a bewildering array of opportunities to foster personal growth, accumulate wealth or build great nations. Each time I leave the new airport in New Delhi, for example, I am overwhelmed with the rapid change of the environment driven by a mind-boggling growth rate of the economy. On the other hand, never has humanity faced so much misery: A rising number of armed and violent conflicts, water and air pollution, congested highways, a rapid shift in weather conditions and the exploitation of natural resources without considering even the most basic environmental regulations.
Many scholars claim that the dramatic challenges we witness are mainly driven by two key factors: a sudden and startling surge in human population and a fast acceleration of the scientific and technological revolution, which has provided us with a sheer unimaginable power to affect the world around us. Some scholars tend to assert that new technologies, genetic engineering or other innovative products will be the keys for coping with our pressing problems. I completely disagree! Only a new leadership paradigm will remedy the current havoc.
For nearly 2000 years, the worldview has been driven by a leadership paradigm based on autonomy, separateness and control. These have also been the root metaphors influencing religion, business and science mainly in the Western world. This traditional archetype supports not only autonomy and freedom, but also control and manipulation. Nothing was wrong with such an approach, up to a point, for it was the basis for an enormous technical advancement on earth. But at the same time, this old paradigm has led us into a disaster and is now in big trouble not just that it relates to the environment, but across many fields such as politics, education and business. Already in the early 1990s, many renowned personalities emphasized that the shortcomings of command-and-control management were becoming apparent. The hierarchy of bosses organized in ranks with each superior exercising authority over subordinates who do exactly what their boss wants, has long been dominant. Many companies underwent a drastic paradigm shift in their leadership style over the last two decades. However, daily news on “poor management” suggests that not a lot of things have really changed.
What our planet needs now is a drastic shift towards a leadership paradigm embracing values such as interrelationship, cooperation, integration, balance, holism and especially love. These are exactly the values found in individuals living authentically. Such people have learned to act in accord with their core values, preferences, and needs as opposed to acting merely to please others or avoid punishments through playing a role. Such individuals have found the power of speaking up and lending a caring hand to our planet by reaching deep into their hearts. Only a huge investment of self-awareness and self-respect has nurtured their immense power to show respect for others and for the earth as a whole.
The sad news is that business, politics and education are not rewarding authenticity yet. We all are growing up in a command-and-control society, which nurtures our constant fear of not amounting to anything or loosing praise and recognition if we dare to live up to our innate principles and values. Furthermore, success in our society is still measured against the amount of money we accumulate or how fast we advance in our career, which spurs an ego-rooted rather than a heart-centered behavior. It often favors competition rather than cooperation. However, the greatest leaders of all times have set a stunning example of what one can achieve through leading from the heart. At the time of Mahatma Gandhi’s death, his personal possessions were valued at less than two dollars. His power and strength was derived from internal depths of his soul. Gandhi showed that the human heart is a source of tremendous power holding the capacity to change the course of history. We all have the birth right and even obligation to live up to our authentic self, which in turn feeds the power of living up to values so much in need, such as cooperation, appreciation and balance, and supporting a sustainable development of our planet. Since most of us stuck in the “comfort and fear zone” we need strong leaders empowering us to live authentically and promoting the strength to value respect for others. Reach deep in your heart, stand up for your true self and become one of the future leaders empowering others to reclaim their authentic presence!