At the moment, I am getting ready to start a rigorous tour centered around leadership. I started the tour a few years ago. However, after careful thought and observation, I knew it was time to come back with a powerful message for twenty-first-century leaders.
I am greatly disturbed by what I see happening in leadership today. We witness more corruption, scandals, and compromise than ever before. Every week we see new examples of leaders that fail to honor the positions they have been privileged to occupy.
According to Edelman’s Trust Barometer for 2013, 82% of people don’t trust business leaders to tell the truth. But today’s leadership crisis far extends the workplace. We cannot continue on this current trajectory. We must define a new era of leadership.
It is time to shift the narrative and create a new landscape for leadership. Here’s a look at several ways we can get started.
1. Acknowledge that current leadership models are flawed and broken
I have spoken with leaders around the world about the state of our leadership model. Many have ignored the subject and even mocked me for bringing it up. It takes a great deal of deception to overlook the moral decline and ethical decay happening in leadership today. The reality is our leadership models are broken; they are failing.
We have reached a tipping point. We cannot simply repair the models. Instead, it is vitally important that we redefine the models of leadership. These models cannot be built on position and merit. The models of the twenty-first century must be built on principles and morality. It is time to stop being impressed with vain words and broken promises. We need leadership models that set the course for lasting change for generations to come.
2. Address the lack of integrity in leadership
I don’t know if I have ever seen such a lack of integrity and character in leadership. We’ve heard it said that character is what you do when nobody’s watching. However, I disagree. Character is who you are all the time. It does not matter if people are watching or not. If you are a person of integrity, you are going to remain committed to doing the right thing.
When you find yourself in an ethical dilemma, seek counsel so you can make the right decision. I am annoyed when I see leaders mounting platforms, but ungoverned by principles and convictions. The foundation of leadership is corroding. Corruption is increasing all over the world. We don’t need another charismatic voice. We need leaders of dignity, morality, and honor to rise up and adhere to high standards and strong convictions.
3. Lead from the heart
While many things have contributed to the breakdown of leadership in the twenty-first century, few things have influenced this breakdown more than a lack of compassion. Sadly, we are producing a generation of callous and cold-hearted leaders.
Everyone is concerned with competition and advancement. However, no one is concerned about the souls of those they lead. I am not against advancement and opportunity. However, when competition gets in the way of compassion the result is corruption.
In this new era of leadership, we must connect the heart back to how we lead. It does not matter how big our organizations are if we do not care about the people within them. For too long we have sacrificed the welfare of the people for profits and personal gain. It is time to engage the heart again and make compassion a fundamental intention for why we lead.
4. Redefine leadership
I am so excited about this upcoming promotional tour. For years, I have been working behind the scenes to develop leaders all over the world. However, it is time to share those principles with the masses.
Leadership must be redefined. It cannot simply be based off theories and scientific models. It is time for leaders to convene and seek counsel. We do not need egos or personal agendas. This era demands leaders come together and find solutions. This approach will shift leadership for generations to come.
We need leaders with principles and convictions, integrity and intellect and charisma and character. We don’t just need leaders to rise to the top. It’s time to transform what the top looks like. After all, leadership without longevity does not produce legacy.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Jamelle Sanders is the CEO of Jamelle Sanders International. Jamelle is committed to empowering entrepreneurs and leaders to live up to their true potential and to profit wildly in their businesses. Jamelle is a life coach, author, leading empowerment specialist and highly respected thought leader. Jamelle has successfully empowered leaders and entrepreneurs around the world to succeed in business and in life. Connect with @JamelleSanders on Twitter.
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