I was recently working on some training for our leadership staff at Lakeside. In working through the varied aspects of creating environments that were resonant and emotionally intelligent I reflected on what leadership means to those who are working in organizations that care for others. In fact, it means a great deal to all workers in our country. People need safe work environments where leaders are attuned and aware of their needs and able to create environments where relationships matter and people feel good about their achievements.
One of the realities that are often discussed in resonant leadership is that we can so easily default to dissonance which creates negligence, lack of safety, discord, insecurity, and other negative emotions. The fact that it’s a negative default assumes that leaders really want to create positive environments for those they lead but often revert to practices that fall back into negative ways of working with them.
As I further reflect on the models of leadership that are now popularized in the media and sometimes in larger corporate and political systems, I find it very concerning that dissonance now has become an accepted standard for leadership. We can openly criticize, condemn, judge, and even falsely accuse each other as if it’s a new norm for relationships. In some leadership forums dissonance has not only become a default but an acceptable standard.
I recognize that many of us have become cynical and distrusting of that kind of leadership. It has certainly been a significant source of the polarization of our country. What is concerning is the acceptability of some of these values and behaviors which are dangerous, illegal, and chaotic. This sense of chaos will lead to destructive emotions and more divisiveness.
As one who is concerned about what happens to our youth, this is a significant tragedy. Since our kids are so attuned to news and media, they too are watching this type of popularized leadership and realizing its impact on them. As they grow into adulthood, what models of leadership will they experience and what will their reactions be? Will they become apathetic, angry, rebellious, violent, and distrusting? Will they default to the same dissonance as their own leadership style? What will be the set of values and core beliefs for this future generation in how they will lead?
These are key questions for the future of our youth and country. We, as citizens, their parents, and role models should be teaching mindfulness, compassion, and hope as a model of leadership that cares about one another. As we strive to make our world a better place and achieve personal and career goals, we need to establish a synergy with each other that will promote safety, healing, growth, and hope. It’s necessary for us to come together and focus on our strengths and common goals to overcome life obstacles and resolve our issues peaceably. It’s hard enough to achieve those goals without promoting a dissonant set of values that will cause conflict and leave us fragmented and dysfunctional.
Our youth need adult role models who will give us a positive and productive life. They need to know it’s possible to have a life full of all that’s good as we come together to create legacies that are empowering and filled with meaning and value.
Let’s do all we can to create that!
Gerry Vassar, President/CEO