Values and Leadership

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Reflections on human values, values-based leadership and organizational ethics fill my life – intellectually, spiritually and work-wise.

In contrast to my earlier activities as CEO of a leading-edge consulting firm and as professor at several universities, my work is now both meaningful and joyful at a deep existential level. I experience harmony between my thoughts, words and deeds – and that includes the values I draw upon and that I attempt to embody when I am at work as well as the values that are important for me in my relationship to myself, to my family, my surroundings and to my society.

What is the source of my enthusiasm and joy? As to the enthusiasm, the answer is idealistic and simple: If we don't change our world views and substantiate our actions based on a far more inclusive repertoire of rationale than the materialistic: ‘it pays’, we risk destroying the foundation on which we are attempting to build a well-functioning, democratic, just and enlightened society.

It is my impression that in our rush to achieve material wealth and ‘happiness’ most of us have forgotten the existential wonder we had as children regarding who we are, what we expect from life, and what are our obligations. A wonderment, curiosity and reflection that are preconditions for our being able to experience a ‘good life’, seen both from the perspective of the individual, the organization and society.

As to the source of the joy, the answer is even more straightforward and subjective. It simply feels right to use my time and energy on matters that not only influence my own personal development, but all of us. It is paradoxical that it is liberating to feel duty-bound; freedom is no longer the ability to do whatever I want to do, whenever I want, but intuitively to know what I should do and to have the courage to act accordingly.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2009

More about this publication?
  • Rational, Ethical and Spiritual Perspectives on Leadership
    The author's experiences in many organizational and cultural contexts are reflected in this book's selection from his writings during the past twenty years. They portray an evolution in his mind-set - from rational to ethical to spiritual perspectives on leadership. This evolution is not just a personal matter; it reflects developments that are taking place, although usually tacitly, at the individual and corporate level throughout the world. A primary motivation underlying the development of the book is to inspire leaders as well as teachers and students of leadership to integrate their hearts, minds and souls when making decisions, and to develop the awareness and conviction that wise and successful leadership is concerned not only with effectiveness and wealth generation, but also with contributing to the well-being and fulfilment of all those whom one serves as a leader. The book is divided into six interrelated themes: Morals and Ethics; Ethical Accounting; Values and Leadership; Identity; Responsibility; and Spiritual-based Leadership.
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