If this past week has taught us anything in the wake of the attack on the US Capitol, it may have instilled the belief that there is a desperate need for sound leadership that is required not only for the future of the Republic but central to shepherding us out of these dark times towards a brighter future. The role of business leadership is not only critical in helping us to possess a healthier grasp on what is needed but offers organizations further direction in creating a more inclusive reality of cohesion that promotes an atmosphere of community and equity. This assault on Democracy goes far beyond politics but gets us to think about what should be at the heart of true leadership and offers us a moment of reflection to think about the truly important values that we can build on to grow and thrive.
Business leaders from Fortune 500 companies to small business owners must see their role in the larger fabric of society as far greater than previously thought of before. These are the people that will help to define the very society in which we live. No matter what product or service they offer, from small towns to big cities, they play a significant role in how people are engaging in the world around them. They must think of their obligation to espouse the notion of what is defined as the politics of shared purpose. The idea that opportunity, community, and responsibility are the principles by which their business is built upon and elevating this idea as a pivotal factor in their leadership style.
As we look to the future of work and the evolution of business culture, the role of leadership must be reevaluated. We must ask the question, what defines a great leader in the future of work? Drawing upon the inspiration of the politics of shared purpose, business leaders must see themselves as stewards of their community. They must see their value system as part of the very DNA of the organization in which they preside. The future of work is revealing that the new ethos of companies is to be as much an influencer of social good as is to be a driver of profitability. Seeking those opportunities is paramount, and great leaders need to understand that their role is to help their business find those points of connection to develop both the economic engine for continued growth and define their brand that has a responsibility to create a bond with the community at large. This notion of social connectivity can be argued will be one of the key elements for the new science of the future of work and a force of the new business ecosystem of the digital age.
Leadership is hard, and to develop great leadership skills one must draw from a plethora of tools to build the strength needed to better navigate organizations through tumultuous times while having the humility to be commended for their victories. Skillful leaders ought to appreciate the power of the Disability Narrative and the influence of the lived experience of disability as a fundamental mechanism to discover meaningful skills while finding an instrument of knowledge that establishes a competitive advantage.
One of the most fundamental takes way’s that leaders can learn from the Disability Narrative through their maturation process is the ability to embrace vulnerability. So often this is seen as a weakness, but rather the argument must be made that is a strength that allows leaders to go from good to great. Vulnerability in the lived experience can often be seen as a lover’s quarrel, it can be painful, but is something that is needed. It has provided those with disabilities an intimate window into a greater sense of pain, empathy, and compassion. These are critical factors for success in any corporate leaders’ toolkit. Whether it is negotiations, strategy development, to mobilizing one’s workforce, the awareness of one’s strengths and weaknesses are essential for long term growth. Having this ability to grow this sense of emotional intelligence provides a suitable framework that reaps dividends across an ever-expanding corporate environment that is becoming more diverse than ever before. Great leaders have to be prepared to reveal themselves and be vulnerable to better connect to their employees, shareholders, and customers. Having vulnerability provides a sense of authenticity that is needed in the business culture of today.