Sunday, June 27, 2010

"A Widespread Yearning for Significance"

Nancy Adler writes the Point of View column for the business journal Rotman. Her Spring 2010 column is entitled The Art of Leadership. The article focuses on a 21st century society yearning for the leadership of possibility - - a leadership based more on hope, aspiration and innovation than on the replication of historical patterns.

She writes the following:

Following a century focused on the efficiencies gained through mechanistic and reductionist techniques, we yearn today for wholeness and meaning. To paraphrase Simon Fraser University Professor Rosalie Tung from her recent Academy of Management presidential address, "What we need is not an economy of hands or heads, but an economy of hearts. Every employee should feel that he or she is contributing to something that will make a genuine and positive difference in the lives of customers and colleagues. For too many employees, the return on emotional equity is close to zero. They have nothing to commit to other that the success of their own career."

Why is it that the very essence of our humanity - - our desire to reach beyond ourselves, to touch others, to do something that matters and leave the world just a little better - - is so often denied at work? To succeed in our current environment, firms must give their members a reason to bring all of their humanity to work.

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