What The Human Leader and Aristotle Have in Common

Human leadership does not entail being flawless or pretending to be someone we are not; rather, it is making an effort to be our finest selves and putting that energy forward every day in order to inspire others.

As leaders go about their work, in the exercise of their profession, there comes a time in which, either individually or as an organization, we enter into uncharted territory with no apparent rules, or where the rules we knew no longer apply. Before we could just have gone with the flow, driven by routine, but suddenly, these guides seem to have vanished. We find ourselves at a crossroads and without a clue, we’re lost.

With so many ethical, social, and scientific variations at play in the world today, it seems inevitable that leaders slip and fall sometime on the unstable ground. Doing the right thing may not always be easy to execute in a dynamic and uncertain environment when the external consequences of one’s leadership are often not evident.

Human leadership starts from a practise of Aristotle’s “virtues”

Think of people that you admire and who have inspired you.

There’s a good chance that your admiration for this person stems from more than just their accomplishments; rather, it’s a reflection of their character. Aristotle points to the same discovery – his focus is not just on what people seem or portray themselves to be but on who they are, through the actions they take. And this corresponds to another truth – that the real issue is not how well leadership is defined, but how well it is practiced.

The virtues (as Aristotle called them) upheld and practised by leaders – virtues of wisdom, compassion, and empathy – have been their major source of finding meaning in hard times. It is through these virtues that they have maintained the balance between being strategically effective and morally and socially “good”.

Human leadership does not entail being flawless or pretending to be someone we are not; rather, it is making an effort to be our finest selves and putting that energy forward every day in order to inspire others. It may seem like a lofty ambition but all it needs is for us to return to the, underrated, yet core principles of our basic humanity: wisdom, compassion, selflessness. Principles that help us translate what we should do into what we actually end up doing.

Putting principles into practise

Good news: You don’t have to schedule extra time to practise qualities like wisdom, compassion, empathy, in your already hectic schedule. Every day is an opportunity to practise these virtues, and the more demanding the circumstances you face are the more opportunities there are to practise them.

For instance, when an employee keeps falling behind on their daily tasks and damaging everybody else’s pace of work, how does one respond? With patience, even when we don’t have the bandwidth for it. Because, when is the best time to practise patience? Of course, when you really, truly don’t want to.

Human leadership cuts the work out for you to apply these virtues seamlessly in your everyday leadership endeavours:

Start with self-love & self–compassion

Human leadership is based in the love and respect you have for yourself. When you embrace yourself for who you are, value your growth, and treat your own self with respect, you also recognise and respect the equal right of all persons to fairness, decency, and integrity. With self-love, even in the most difficult situations, you lead with reasoned compassion in order to do the right thing for everyone.

Level up with self-awareness –

Change is about consciousness and empathy is about connection. Human leadership recognises this. It is self-aware and cultivates stronger positive connections with people by being clear about what it is and what it wants. Purpose, embodied values, and intrinsic capabilities are the guiding principles of human leadership. Through them, it maintains a strong sense of self-awareness and subsequently looks outwards and connects with others.

Reach the finish line with self-leadership –

In spite of our inherent baggage, human leadership maintains progress as a core principle in its pursuit of excellence. It acknowledges and respects the fact that we are not robots, but rather human beings with limitations. So, it focuses on the wirings we have built in, and helps us continue growing and learning so that we can put our heart and passion into our efforts.

The reality of another person’s life can be altered every day by the actions, led by virtues, of those in positions of authority. This feat is not only achievable, but also necessary for leaders if they are to face the complexity of work and life that we have today. Human leadership enables us to cultivate a manifestation of our best selves by awakening us to our underlying human virtues, just like Aristotle pointed. With just one difference, here, not birth but intention is the ke

Source: Business World

By AlJazeera