Management & Leadership

Executive Leadership and the Development of Virtues

Dec 04, 2014
Executive Leadership and the Development of Virtues

Insights from a recent Coaching Talk presented by Graham Williams, Associate at Change Partners.

Making an impact on the world around us is an untapped power each one of us possesses. We live in a world that suffers from poverty, inequality and exploitation, many believing that this stems from the very system we live in: Capitalism. We may have the Big Man’s claws piercing our everyday activities, but there is a way to twist his hold into more of an eager nudge in the right direction.

What if we became better leaders and employees within our organisations? What if the workplace did not treat you as a machine but took into account the fact that you are an organic substance with a beating heart? What if we went beyond simply assessing consumer pleasure and measured an organisation’s influence on reducing poverty and inequality levels? What if you considered ethics within all your decision making for the betterment of the world at large?

Sounding a bit too overwhelming for your already hectic schedule? This is the core of the issue; act like a workplace machine and you be fuelled as such. It is lonely at the top indeed. Leaders not only account for an organisation’s needs, but also have their own personal lives to concern themselves with, plus we are now throwing the rest of society’s needs into the mix too. However, we need to realize that the capitalist system can be employed for the common good and contribute to the rebuilding of societies and healing the environment and doing this starts with each of us and how we engage virtuously with the world around us.

Leading the right path depends on how well you can stand as an example for others to follow on that path. Coaching, consulting and mentoring opens up many doors to a set of escalators that are only going up. The beauty about executive coaching on how to balance their lives, combat fatigue or become more socio-economically aware, is that you are influencing their growth as a thriving leader, you are the support structure of this professional, and you facilitate the hand that will unlock their world of potential waiting to burst out.

No matter the path an executive leader is on, whether it be a yellow brick road or beaten-down track, a coach is walking right beside their client. Executive coaches have the ability to shape leaders of today and tomorrow by raising a personal awareness, creating a safe space, and generating neural pathways that strengthen leadership characteristics. How often do you encourage your clients to take ethics into account in their decision-making processes? How often do you raise their awareness around the impact they are having on the environment and the social world? How often do you, the coach, consider these things for yourself?

Virtues often get lost in the cocktail of corporate reason and jargon. For example, LOVE is so integral in all components of our lives, why have we allowed it to become so taboo in the workplace, besides the frivolous “I love how you won your client over”, which is not authentic. Embodying what it means to be a true leader of an organisation is to be transparent and genuine, set a solid example and show that you are human too.

Those who have the desire to make such an impact now have the opportunity to. SACAP’s Graduate School of Coaching & Leadership’s new 18 month Postgraduate Diploma equips students in the corporate and personal coaching arenas. The programme accommodates people with full-time jobs and is registered at a Level 8 on the National Qualifications Framework. Graduates are highly skilled within executive coaching to empower others to realise their own potential.

Some more interesting reading on ‘Employees who feel love perform better’.

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