Walking in the Light of Others

My father passed away at the age of 97 this past May. In my eulogy I read from a poem called “Shifting the Sun,” by Diana Der-Hovanessian. The final stanza reads:

When your father dies, say the Armenians,
your sun shifts forever.
And you walk in his light

I closed my remarks by saying, “I know that today I walk in my father’s light. I choose to believe that each of us here in this room, in some small way, does so as well.”

Reflecting back on Dad and that day we celebrated his life, it strikes me that many of us walk in the light of some great managers for whom we have worked over the years.

These are people who modeled leadership at its best. They showed us how build trust and include and inspire others. They brought out the best in us. We felt fulfilled and engaged working on their team. They helped us find meaning and pride in the work we were doing. And, in return, we delivered more.

When faced with a particularly challenging management problem, we use that wonderful capacity we have as humans to imagine what these special leaders would do in our place. We roll the video tape in our mind. We recall kernels of wise counsel they once gave us. And then, armed with added perspective, we act on our problem.

So, we look back to our role models and learn. But let us also look forward. If we strive to do our very best managing our staff, we will be providing them some bright light to walk in.

 

Focus by Daniel Goleman What I’m Reading

Leadership 2030: Six Megatrends You Need to Understand to Lead Your Company into the Future by Georg Vielmetter & Yvonne Sell

We have been hearing in recent years about how leaders, going forward, will have to deal with a level of complexity that is rising geometrically. This seems a bit fuzzy, however. Just what “complexity” are we talking about?

Well, this book, just out this spring, presents the clearest description of that complexity I have encountered to date. The six megatrends are Globalization 2.0, The Environmental Crisis, Individualization and Value Pluralism, The Digital Era, Demographic Change, and Technological Change. Each on its own presents a daunting challenge to leaders. But it is the integration of two or more megatrends, the authors suggest, that really ups the ante.

They wrap up by describing the profile of a leader who can meet the challenge, what they call the “Altrocentric Leader.” Interestingly, this profile is similar to a blend of The Leadership Circle’s Creative leader and Integral leader. So TLC, whose leadership development model and tools we work with extensively, is very much on the right track.