GREEDY LEADERSHIP OR GENEROUS LEADERSHIP?
Leadership theory and practice have been changing – from authority and power to influence and service – and one can see it impact all areas of life – organizations, institutions, businesses. The big idea here is to help, to assist, to bring value to others, to build trust – with friends but also with clients. Good leaders influence so others flourish, impact so others thrive.
Gayle D. Beebe, President of Westmount College wrote THE SHAPING OF AN EFFECTIVE LEADER: Eight Formative Principles of Leadership InterVarsity Press, 2011. His words have prompted me to organize some thoughts about greed and generosity as it relates to leadership and business character. Some of these thoughts come directly out of Beebe’s book, others are my thoughts prompted by his writing.
p. 25 = Peter Drucker = “It is character through which leadership is exercised. Character is not something one can fool people about.”
p. 28 = character ‘devoid of soul’ is to be avoided; it is of no help to anyone
Jesus said in Matthew 16:26 “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?”
p. 29 = eventually, over time, organizations, institutions, governments, businesses, teams, that lack integrity and soul will fall apart. Examples: Rome, USSR, Enron, Bernie Madoff Investments, high-profile megachurches, self-centred, egotistical, manipulative politicians.
p. 79 = one level where this battle to maintain character is fought, a field where the leader’s soul is tested is the greed-generosity spectrum. It is important to think of greed and generosity as much bigger than just a money matter.
Greed destroys community. And if you are a leader you must be concerned about your community!
Greed has no limits
Greed always grasps. It grabs and thus becomes more destructive, disruptive, and disgusting. It chases money, power, fame, and control.
The result is a lack of respect for the needs and ambitions of others because our own needs and ambitions overrun boundaries into another’s territory.
Greed can destroy whole organizations with its excessive need for acclaim, attention, and compensation. Greed has an inability to share the limelight.
p. 80 = generosity builds community, and generosity will honor and celebrate the contributions of others resulting in fair compensation. Generosity, unlike greed, has the ability to self-restrain and self-limit. Generosity allows space for others to grow. Generosity waters growth. Generosity gives life to the soul. Generosity reveals a healthy soul in action. Generous leadership is where character can shine.
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