Virtues and Leadership in an age of systems and Process…

Coaching / Positive Organisational Psycholgy

The concept of Leadership is often confused with that of management and power. There is a link, but Leadership in itself, as a word, and a concept, suggests that there are desirable virtues inherent that we would be impelled to follow, rather than compelled to follow. Many people will be thinking about the meaning of the term “impelled” – even as they read this, and to make things easier I will reference a recent article where I posed the question “are you compelled or impelled”. Where leaders are concerned, one thing is for certain, that there is an argument to suggest that true leaders impel us. They exude virtues such as courage, and courage can be inspirational when we see. it. There is an argument to suggest that a leader who covets power and title, is usually one who is seeking to compel people to follow.

Perhaps some of the best leaders can be found a couple of rungs from the top of the ladder…

It seems that within the world of organisational politics, there is a dog eat dog environment, and one where failure to play the game can limit our ascension to the dizzy heights of the corporate ladder. What must we sacrifice along the way? In fact, perhaps it is more of a descension… Perhaps by transcending the game, and staying in touch with our moral compass, we can better have an understanding of the moral direction of travel. Virtues such as honesty, trust, courage, hope are all virtues that we admire within great leaders. Some may admire the achievements of great dictators, but what happens to these achievements when we reach the end of our life? The impact that we have on those who follow us, and what we impart is a lasting legacy. Perhaps we need to map the common traits of excellent leaders. It is far more than knowledge, power, and their application. It is doing the right thing, being the right thing, and sometimes in the face of losing profit and material wealth. Now this takes courage… Courage is therefore my starting point on a journey of exploration into what it takes to become a true leader…

As I ponder this question, I am drawn to another. Why do we need leaders? I posit that fear is one of the main motivators in life. Fear is largely undirected and reactive. Fear is also an expensive emotion biologically and emotionally. Fear is the proverbial stick to hopes’ proverbial carrot. Hope is meant to inspire and evoke aspiration. Hope-based leadership is an interesting concept…

A leader should be a lighthouse in a sea of chaos, fear and confusion. A leader should put us in touch with our own hope-goals, and shift our focus away from fear-goals. For those who do not possess their own hope-goals, a leader will share theirs… Read the Polar Model of Hope and Fear here.

This Article was written by Reece Coker SAC Dip, Dip,ed, MITD, MSc
Ex-military, expert in counter terrorism, Close Quarter Combat and a Psychologist, Reece is passionate about helping victims of violence grow and flourish post traumatically. Reece has studied and researched the...