The June 2012 edition of the Harvard Business Review is dominated by the subject of leadership.
Managing Risks: A New Framework is about risk but has powerful leadership overtones. How Managers Become Leaders discusses the seismic shifts of moving from manager to enterprise leader. Leadership Is A Conversation challenges to stop talking to people and start conversing with people. Leadership Development In the Age of The Algorithm from Marcus Buckingham introduces a new paradigm of scalable and indivudalized ledership development and the interview with with Unilever CEO Paul Polman inspires leaders to lead into the future.
But this is not about a stellar leadership issue of the Harvard Business Review, it is about the thread of character that runs through all the articles in the magazine. In September of 2009 I published The Character of Leadership: An Ancient Model For a Quantum Age. The book argues that great leadership is fueled by great character because leadership is an inside out proposition. Your character is inexplicably tied to the leadership you demonstrate. The model contains seven elements, Faith, Justice, Temperance, Hope, Wisdom, Love and Courage. The model has its origins in ancient philosophy and so my role was only to adopt it and adapt from a leadership perspective. the goal of the model is to share the connection of leadership to character and to advocate for a positive, proactive, progressive discussion about the need for character development as part of leadership development.
I was so excited to see the threads of The Character of Leadership in the articles in HBR this month. Clearly the authors and editors did not think of my model when the wrote or published and clearly my bias toward a character and leadership perspective is always present in my work and my reading. But even this those realities in place I see the Character of Leadership in the discussion of what it takes to manage risk, the seismic shift from manager to leader. In Leadership Is a Conversation there is authenticity, love. In Marcus Buckingham’s article the notion of context is so prevelent. He talks of individualiezed and scalable approaches which what I advocate about developing character.
The model really shines through in the interview with Paul Polman the CEO of Unilever. His bold and transformative objectives for the company resonate with faith, and instill hope while showing a sense of Justice, Temperance and without a doubt boundless courage.
Get the magazine and read it cover to cover and you will see that character and leadership really do matter.