Servant Leadership and the Long View

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I feel optimistic about the future because humanity seems to be growing more mature; scientists are paying more attention to our inner values, to the study of mind and the emotions. There is a clear desire for peace and concern for the environment.”

~Dalai Lama

Servant Leaders understand that taking the long view to positive outcomes for the world is a part of being a force for good. Thinking in new ways is critical to creating a compassionate world. This is what the Dalai Lama argues in the book, A Force for Good: The Dalai Lama’s Vision for Our World, chapter eleven, The Long View.

The Dalai Lama’s vision for the world seems radically different from the one we know and can seem impossibly idealistic. But, as Bab Amte once said, “No one has the right to arrange a funeral for the future.”

In the sense that the Servant leaders guide people toward a shared goal, servant leadership is widely distributed and is demonstrated in all of the stories shared in Goleman’s book. Whether we are within our family, among friends, on social media, in an organization, or society as a whole, we are all servant leaders in one way or another, if only from time to time.

The Dalai Lama argues that we all can play a part in the network of influence and impact in the world today. Indeed, a lot of the changes the Dalai Lama speaks of are systemic, and it will take all of us to make the shift. I wrote about systems thinking some time ago. You can read that blog here.

The Dalai Lama presented an example of a movement within science to study contemplative practice and how it started with just one scientist. Then, that scientist engaged friends in the conversation, and then they informed and invited other friends to the conversation.

The scientist met colleagues at conferences and all of the sudden, an informal network formed into an active professional network that collectively came together to find solutions.

“No single person can change the world. Now, we are in the modern era, with democracy, it’s really the voice of the people together, the collective, that will make the difference” says the Dali Lama.

But what of discouragement many feel, Goleman asked the Dalai Lama. He said that we should plants seeds of a better world. We have to begin somewhere and know that shift is gradual. Education and awareness are critical for the younger generation.

At the end of the day, we should not be daunted by these lofty goals. The Dalai Lama says about his own efforts, “I am not expecting to see a result. It may take twenty or thirty years or more. I tell students in their twenties that they may live to see the results, but we all have a responsibility to act now, even if we will never see the fruition of our efforts.”

Servant leaders understand that thinking for the long term, that is to have a long view, helps us to leave the world better for our children than as we found it.

 

To the Long View,

Dr. Crystal

 

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