Tag Archives: Freedom

To truly love a child

I have lost the child

Of a lonely man

Not in an accident nor war

A suffering psyche of scar

Has lost peace to seed

Fear’s possessive greed

Of a mother’s doubt what could be

If she were free

To truly love

 

I have won the children

Of all world’s men

Not by fighting back to win

A loving heart within

Has found peace to share

Forgiveness to take care

Of a father’s knowing what can be

Because he’s free

To truly love

Beyond happiness

I was looking for happiness and found meaning. When I accepted meaning, happiness became meaningless.

Traveling

Traveling

Visiting individual existences
Natural, awakening places
Kissing compassion and potential
Inspiring mysterious doors
Everywhere

Escaping forced appearances
Sterile, lulling spaces
Sucking possession and control
Depressing golden gates
Far away

Compassionate leadership: If we all ‘lead,’ we don’t need ‘managers’ anymore

There are significant differences between leadership and management

In our contemporary world both leadership and management may be required and co-exist in different situations, but the identification and understanding of their distinguishing features is important if we want to use both of them effectively and eventually think about shifting the emphasis towards managers who are real leaders too.

Having been in diverse leadership and/or management positions in educational institutions and schools, business and consulting firms, military/public service organizations, media and communication practices, as well as leisure/sports clubs and civic movements over the last 20 years, I’ve reflected on the difference between leadership and management from many different angles. I’m always coming back to the conclusion that the concepts of leadership and management are not as related as the popular interchangeable use of the terms might suggest.

The ultimate market-participating organizational SMART goals versus dreams and visions

Like a path is leading to a different place, or a sheep can be led into a stable, human leadership can be defined as leading something or somebody towards a certain direction. It is said that leadership requires meaning; meaning that is represented and communicated through goals. Although managerial and leadership goals should always be believed to be achievable, the type of goal formation process and quality of goals themselves involved in leadership and management differs significantly [1].

A leader typically is self-guided by intuition and his intimate moral understanding, while a manager is hired by the board of directors pursuing shareholders interest for securing maximized return on their investments. In case of doubt or conflict, the financial interests always have to succeed over other values in a for-profit organization. Manager’s success is measured by how accurately they achieve the business goals. The more long-term, the less predictable the attainment of goals becomes. Leadership tolerates not directly measurable long-term results [1]. Managers, in contrast, for above reasons preferably are to set short-term goals. To ensure that goals are as clear and realistic as possible, so-called SMART goals are commonly used in the corporate world, which ought to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. Leaders may not only not have SMART goals, but even allow more vague dreams and visions that are often requiring significant imagination.

There is a difference between the concept of power based on formal authority and influence through inspiration

One broad approach is to define leadership as the interpersonal dimension of management that comprises the “ability to inspire confidence and support among the people who are needed to achieve organizational goals” ([2], p. 5). Frequently leadership gets confused with authority, seeing power as being based on formal roles. The formal assignments of a manager or officer let people notice legitimacy and comply with instructions because of fear of negative consequences in case of non-compliance [3]. When saying that leadership requires power, it is, however, not this authoritarian capability of incurring costs (for example in the form of punishment) for the people who refuse to obey [1]. Authoritarian regimes as examples of tight leadership in the form of control and prescription are generating poor results for the people. Instead, it is the ability to inspire for a voluntary fellowship by unforceful means that is resulting in individual prosperity, well-being, and peace through personal self-determination and fulfillment. Real leadership allows people self-leadership.

Leadership goes beyond the leadership aspects practiced in business administration

When the sum of the leadership structures followed by society is called culture [1], then the sum of management structures of market-participating organizations can be seen as the economy. Leaders create culture through the leadership structures they leave behind ([1], p. 11), while managers build administrations through the organizational patterns they establish. This thinking is in line with the terminology used in managerial education, where the top courses for aspiring or acting executive officers award for the title of the Master of Business Administration. Increasing parts of businesses consist of technology and digital resources, whereas human aspects tend to be further pushed into the background. Emotional and organic elements are taken out from the management of resources in favor of optimal planning accuracy. Again, although there may (but doesn’t have to) be some deal of leadership involved as well in steering a business, a real leader would never be reduced to be an administrator in that sense.

The irrelevance of leadership in the management of expectations

As Rudy Giuliani once put it, leaders first figure out what’s right, and then explain it to people, as opposed to first having people explain it and then just saying what they want to hear ([2], p.3). Indeed, managers tend to behave in a manner more or less in line with the management style endorsed within their country, industry or organization [4]. Firms choose new executives whose values are consistent with their own. If an executive is not filling the role as expected, he will be replaced with somebody who adheres more closely to expectations. From that perspective it is essential to have a rider, to use this metaphor, who holds the reins of a horse put before a cart, but any other rider who follows the relatively simple rules how to guide a horse and carriage can carry them as well. You can even let a child play the carter. It can be observed that the horse’s, respectively the organization’s personality, to come back to the organizational context, is actually more important than the “leader” himself [2].

Leaders emerge when there is an urge for change or the need to resolve a crisis or conflict

Leadership creates change, often of dramatic dimensions, such as when completely new market dynamics are developed, societal perceptions are shifted, or more diverse cultures emerge. Management on the other hand often is concerned about maintaining predictability and order [2]. Let’s think about why and how changes are managed in organizations. A big part of organizational administration deals with tracking changes to protect the status quo of power balances and interests of stakeholders and resources that contribute most to the profitable business. Such times of contentedness and stability are not calling for leaders whose strength is to move towards widening the range of beneficiaries. It is the time of crisis, in which leaders emerge. Managers monitor operational excellence of their subordinates typically in periods of economic strain. Charisma arises when there are heightened levels of distress among an increasing number of people that can be of not only financial but also psychological nature, constituting an individual and collective crisis of meaning that demands answers. If the problem is sought to be solved by somebody else, the ground is fertile for people to follow a leader who convincingly directs toward a comforting solution [3]. It has to be carefully evaluated whether these promises are meaningful and serving the common good, or whether there is an overemphasis on leader-reliance for whatever reason. Leaders are also required in situations of conflict. Conflict as the opposite of leadership is characterized by the absence of a functioning leader-follower relationship, typically because of disagreements related to a common course of action [1].

There is little leadership required and even possible in corporations

Following the argumentation so far, it is conceivable to suggest, assuming a bit a black and white perspective, that in organizations, at ordinary times there is little leadership required and even possible. Instead, what is required is a disciplined management that administers an organization to stay on track without visioning any significant change that would require leadership. Abraham Maslow regarded leaders as self-actualizing individuals who are self-determined, independent of culture, and following their inner guidance to help their fellow humans. For a leader of such qualities a narrow corporate environment likely would be unsatisfying at least and possibly over longer or sooner and would also be ethically conflicting. Executives of big corporations have contributed to the mistrust in corporate ethics due to their perceived focus on self-promotion and excessive greed. What seems to be required is more compassionate leadership in the service of others respectively in the view of the broader society and humanity beyond an institutional context [5].

The difference between moral, ethics, and professionalism

Ninety-nine percent of the global wealth is controlled by the top one percent of richest people. The issue is that this causes, for example, the daily death of tens of thousands of innocent children who are left without the necessary means to survive, such as food or health care. Unfortunately, as long as it is a tolerated practice that the already highly concentrated wealth is invested almost exclusively in opportunities that further accentuate this income and wealth inequality, there is little hope that compassionate (moral) and ethical leadership will prevail. Corporate social responsibility struggles to demonstrate a positive impact on the single measure bottom-line of financial profit generation, why it remains not much more than an afterthought. On the one hand, public relations and marketing communications of organizations increasingly use language that includes terms like ‘sharing,’ ‘love,’ ‘community,’ and ‘better world for all,’ to brand themselves socially towards consumers who are willing to pay a premium for such labels. This is true even for industries such as tobacco and arms. On the other hand, corporate ethics training is poised to be mere professional instruction on how to operate within legal constraints without jeopardizing business performance. This may be diligent management to serve capital, but not leadership to improve the human condition.

Shaping the role of genuinely great managerial leadership

Again, in all kinds of organizational settings, there may be a necessary mix of administrative and leadership qualities at work, suggesting a combined role of a ‘managerial leader’ [2].

Maybe the understanding of managerial leadership as based on self-actualization could further evolve to increasingly focus the help of other people in the organizational context while also not losing sight of the fairness towards and the well-being of people in the broader national societal and even global humanitarian context. Importantly, we should not forget that such a broadening of the benefits of leadership requires courageous first-/early-moving followers, who lead others not to remain passive bystanders but to support change towards growth and development of all actively. Asking managerial questions for organizational survival is foundational, but without further questioning on what basis, to what extent, and at whose cost, it is difficult to see real leadership added to management. The more inclusive and compassionate questions get expanded to the scope of all humanity, the greater the leadership involved.

In the current economic and competitive context, cooperation may indeed risk losing some battles in the field of short-term inter-organizational rivalry. However, already today more than ever, genuinely great managerial leadership also can become a competitive advantage and an opportunity for priceless emotional rewards for our all well-being. I think we are on the way to return to a more overall life-relevant philosophical understanding of leadership in which everyone’s full human potential is embraced. In that sense, leadership beyond management is relevant and possible for all of us. If we all assume a managerial leadership role, we don’t need managers anymore. Let’s take the chance.

References

[1] Paschen, M., & Dihsmaier, E. (2013). The psychology of human leadership: How to develop charisma and authority. Berlin: Springer-Verlag.

[2] DuBrin, A. J. (2015). Leadership: Research Findings, Practice, and Skills (8th ed.). Cengage Learning.

[3] Doyle, M. E., & Smith, M. K. (2001). Classical models of managerial leadership: Trait, behavioural, contingency and transformational theory. Retrieved from http://www.infed.org/leadership/traditional_leadership.htm

[4] Dorfman, P., Javidan, M., Hanges, P., Dastmalchian, A., & House, R. (2012). GLOBE: A twenty year journey into the intriguing world of culture and leadership. Journal of World Business, 47(4), 504–518.

[5] Soni, B., & Soni, R. (2016). Enhancing Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs for Effective Leadership. Competition Forum, 14(2), 259-263.

Save Net Neutrality

Your internet connection might slow down after December 14th.

On that day, the FCC will vote on Ajit Pai’s proposal to reverse Title II in the Communication Act.  Title II ensures that the government monitors all ISPs, so they cannot throttle your connection or charge you more money. If Ajit Pai’s plan passes, then internet providers will be able to block or slow down whatever websites they choose.

This could potentially cause a lot of websites to lose traffic and revenue, and it changes the freedom of the internet.

Since only five people on the FCC can vote (and there’s a good chance that the three Republicans will vote for Pai’s plan), it’s up to the public to stop it.

Internet neutrality infographic.png

‘The future post-history’ (poem) & ‘Why history should be mostly abandoned in school’ (statement)

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The future post-history

The less disturbed the vision, the freer growing future
Not more than opinionated story from the past
You can even see the limitation of history

And enable for an independent future
Let’s abandon teaching the past
We didn’t learn from history

To our children’s future
To impose our past
We use history

The future
Post hi
Stor
Y

 

Why history should be mostly abandoned in school

Regarding how to live a meaningful and peaceful life, we have not learned from history. Children are by nature not interested in our past. They are interested in their future. Therefore, not only independence and self-realization should be taught at school at any age, but investments in teaching history should be mostly abandoned. Instead of depriving our children of their visions by imposing our history, we should encourage them to shape their future freely.

 

See also “Why psychology should be taught in every school”: earlier related article: //mathias-sager.com/2017/04/02/why-psychology-should-be-taught-in-every-school/

To be extraordinary or to be just more ordinary

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You were born with nothing ordinary about you, being a unique creation of human life. Through socialization though, you got assigned a social number, and you are expected to adhere to the norm. If you do the ordinary very well, you may be titled “extraordinary,” although originality, self-reliance, and personal growth requiring non-conformity would be much better indications of it.

Continue reading To be extraordinary or to be just more ordinary

Vision of a World Happy Colorful Growth  (WHCG) Movement

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Destructive human behavior and problems on our planet earth come back to the “enslavement traps” of societal control, which are materialist attachment, self-centeredness, distraction from the truth, dependency, mutual exclusive values, and ruthless capitalism. Therefore the WHCG Movement sets out the necessary themes to be addressed locally and globally to realize change for a more peaceful and healthy world. As outlined below, the 3 pillars with the 6 principles can be understood as basic human qualities that prescribe nothing else than the good natural human capacities and motivations to be deliberated. Therefore it is the movement of systematically fostering genuine and universal human values and the removal of unnecessarily separating values. How is that possible? Materialist and ego-driven values are not guaranteeing (and even hindering) people’s happiness, fulfillment, and personal growth: The achievements that make human lives so worthwhile. It is the people’s choice to be free, and to pursue their self-determined journey for not only more wealth fairly shared, but for personal and collective happiness, fulfillment, and growth for this and the generations to come.

Continue reading Vision of a World Happy Colorful Growth  (WHCG) Movement

Anything is possible

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I’ve said no and got punished
How lost in deceptions we are
By feeding our addictions
Freedom seems inaccessible

I’ve been honest and got contempt
How much others-reliable we are
By repeating our lies
Progress seems impassable

I’ve chosen and got proof
How enormously anxious we are
By maintaining our enemy image
Peace seems impossible

And yet I’ll always choose again
How much and long it may take
By keeping up the work
Anything is possible