Leadership is undoubtedly one of the most observed, debated, and thought-provoking terms in human history, and the interest seems to keep growing very rapidly, year on year.
At least 5 main leadership theories, and more than a dozen of derived models, have been developed over the past 200 years. All these theories pursued a common goal, be able to define from a scientific standpoint, what makes a great leader.
The truth is that none of these theories has been able to find any scientific certainty of which human characteristic or combination of, will transform an ordinary guy into a great leader.
The only certainty about leadership is that it is not an exact science.
In the animal world, leadership is about satisfying the need of survival, coexistence, and the welfare of the group.
The key difference between humans and animals, is that animals understand that their communal needs can only be resolved through collective work towards their common good.
People follows leaders who understand their needs, show respect for them and most importantly, who make them feel part of a cause.
Most of the problems the human race faces these days are the result of socioeconomic, politic and educational systems strongly promoting individualism, as opposed to encouraging humanism and collectivism. Individualism, egoism, and greed, are leading our species to a hecatomb.
The insanity of the egoistic mind, amplified by science and technology, is rapidly taking our species to the brink of disaster. Evolve or die: that is our only choice now. – Eckhart Tolle
Thus, in my humble opinion, the best and simplest leadership principle ever developed in human history, is the Golden Rule of Master Confucius, as it fully encapsulates the true essense of humanistic leadership.
What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others. – Confucius
The list below is a compilation of my favorite quotes and statements, which help summarize in an easy to remember acronym, what I consider…
“The 10 Commandments Of Humanistic Leadership”
# 1. Listening:
The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them. — Ralph Nichols
# 2. Empowerment:
Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do, and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. – General George S. Patton
# 3. Appreciation:
Make it a habit to tell people thank you. Express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and you’ll soon find many others around you. Truly appreciate life, and you’ll find that you have more of it. – Ralph Marston
# 4. Devotion:
The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones. –William Faulkner
# 5. Empathy:
Whenever you are about to find fault with someone, ask yourself the following question: What fault of mine most nearly resembles the one I am about to criticize? – Marcus Aurelius
# 6. Respect:
This world of ours… must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect. –Dwight D. Eisenhower
# 7. Simplification:
Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand. –General Colin Powell
# 8. Honesty:
As I have said, the first thing is to be honest with yourself. You can never have an impact on society if you have not changed yourself… Great peacemakers are all people of integrity, of honesty, and humility. ― Nelson Mandela
# 9. Inspiration:
The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires. – William Arthur Ward
Adhere to your purpose, and you will soon feel as well as you ever did. On the contrary, if you falter, and give up, you will lose the power of keeping any resolution, and will regret it all your life.” — Abraham Lincoln
I have no scientific proof supporting my thoughts, so I´m afraid the only way you have to determine whether I’m right or wrong is thru your experience. Put this advice into practice, you won´t regret it.
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I will love it if you take a minute to comment on this article. That´s the best encouragement to continue to write and share knowledge.
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Jordi Alemany is an energetic, enthusiastic and innovative executive coach, management consultant, and bi-lingual (English-Spanish) author and speaker, with a contagious passion for Humanistic Leadership. He devotes a great portion of his life to help others reach their next level and exploit their full potential.