“There is a law that man should love his neighbor as himself. In a few hundred years it should be as natural to mankind as breathing or the upright gait; but if he does not learn it he must perish.” These words written by Alfred Adler epitomize the third C of Transformative Leadership: Concern. To lead transformation, we must be concerned for others; we must care.
It is the transformative leader’s awakened consciousness and understanding of our interconnectedness (the first two Cs) that bring forth a way of being and leading that is marked by care, compassion, and real concern for others. The transformative leader cares about others, about her directs, about the community, about the world.
Significant research indicates the positive impact caring and concern can have on the bottom line. The connection between performance and health and productivity is well documented by this point. Therefor, the transformative leader’s capacity for caring must extend beyond the bottom line. We need to care about the people who work for us, with us, and around us. These people bring more than what they do to the corporate enterprise; they bring who they are. The truly transformative leader cares about their lives and acts to engage them in a way that leaves them feeling a sense of belonging and fulfillment in working to help the organization realize its goals. Leadership’s authentic concern for people and the health of the organization yields tremendous benefit: it generates trust, a vital condition for organizational success.
As I have grown older I have come to see that when I was younger I was a big talker (okay, I’m still a big talker.). I had opinions about almost anything and everything. I was especially vocal about social justice issues. I was great at “thinking globally.” I was lousy at “acting locally.” As I have grown, as I have had children, I have had to attend to who I am around this question. Am I a person who cares? Do people look at me and see someone who cares? Do I need to make my circle of concern larger?
Early in my career, I met with someone whom a mutual friend suggested would be a good possible collaborator on a business venture. We met early one day for breakfast. Toward the end of the meeting (he was really interviewing me to see if I was his kind of person), he informed me that he didn’t see us working together because as he listened to my story he didn’t hear me mention service. My immediate reaction was to be taken aback. I hadn’t until that point realized I was being interviewed. I also was amazed that this individual could determine my level of commitment to service based on thirty minutes over juice and coffee.
Once the sting of his judgment subsided, I resolved to attend to my capacity for caring and my history of service. Was I involved in my community? Could I expand my circle of concern? You bet! That conversation helped me become a little more conscious, to see my connection to something bigger than myself, and to strive to make my circle of concern bigger and bigger. My life is better because of that morning. Maybe the questions I faced that morning and still face today are your questions too. I hope so.
Dr. Greg Giuliano is a change leader, innovator, and trusted thinking partner in the area of change leadership. As Founder and Managing Principal at Ecstasis, LLC, a leadership and organizational development consultancy, Greg uses his experiences as a business leader and former psychotherapist to engage with clients all over the world to co-create change leadership strategies that enable success.
Greg’s multi-sector consulting career includes experience with Cisco, Apollo Group, CITI, Philips, AAA, QuickLogic, Goodwill Industries, Red Lion Hotels, and Oxfam GB among others. Greg became a leader in the fields of leadership and change with innovations to individual practices, group learning processes, and social technologies that facilitate individual and collective reflection, dialogue, and positive change.
Follow Greg on Twitter: https://twitter.com/greggiuliano