leadership and the future of power

Reading materials
  1. Leadership and the future of power
  2. Dadi Janki’s reflections on the future of power
  3. The 8 powers of leadership
Leadership and the future of power
The best leaders throughout history have been those who have forged a new way that has been sustainable and strong. Primarily these leaders have appealed to people through their character – integrity and other values – that ensure people trust them enough to leave the comfort of the known and follow them into uncharted territory.To stand by one’s beliefs, to commit to integrity and values in times of shifting sands, takes great courage and inner strength. Some people have learned the art of self-sustainability, they have tapped the resources within that enable them to endure the road to a new vision.It is in this context that we have been exploring the theme of “The Future of Power”. True, sustainable power is power that is harnessed within and facilitates shift and changes in the outer world. We have selected three pieces of literature to share with you that reflect 3 extraordinary leaders who are icons of positive change in the 20th century.
Excerpt from M.K. Gandhi’s introduction to An Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments With Truth
“My experiments in the political field are now known not only to India, but to a certain extent to the ‘civilized’ world. For me, they have not much value; and the title‘Mahatma’ that they have won for me has therefore, even less. Often the title has deeply pained me; and there is not a moment I can recall when it may be said to have tickled me. But I should certainly like to narrate my experiments in the spiritual field which are known only to myself, and from which I have derived such power as I possess for working in the political field. If the experiments are really spiritual, then there can be no room for self-praise. They can only add to my humility. The more I reflect and look back on the past, the more vividly do I feel my limitations.” The Ashram, Sabarmati, M.K. Gandhi 26th November, 1925
Excerpt from The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. Edited by Clayborne Carson
“The Length of Life, as we shall use it, is not its duration, not its longevity. It is rather the push of a life forward to its personal ends and ambitions. It is the inward concern for one’s personal welfare. The Breadth of Life is the outward concern for the welfare of others. The Height of Life is the upward reach toward God. These are the three dimensions of life, and, without the due development of all, no life becomes complete. Life at its best is a great triangle. At one angle stands the individual person, at the other angle stands other persons, and at the tip top stands God. Unless these three are concatenated, working harmoniously together in a single life, that life is incomplete.” — from sermon at Dexter, Montgomery, Alabama, USA January 24, 1954.“After Time magazine published a cover story on our movement in February 1957, I thought I observed a lessening of tensions and feelings against me and the movement itself.During this period, I could hardly go into any city or any town in this nation where I was not lavished with hospitality by peoples of all races and of all creeds. I could hardly go anywhere to speak in this nation where hundreds and thousands of people were not turned away because of a lack of space. And then after speaking, I often had to be rushed out to get away from the crowd rushing for autographs. I could hardly walk the street in any city of this nation where I was not confronted with people running up the street: “Isn’t this Reverend King of Alabama?” And living under this, it was easy to feel that I was something special.When you are aware that you are a symbol, it causes you to search your soul constantly – to go through this job of self-analysis, to see if you live up to the high and noble principles that people surround you with, and to try at all times to keep the gulf between the public self and the private self at a minimum.One of the prayers that I prayed to God every day was: “O God, help me to see myself in my true perspective. Help me, O God, to see that I’m just a symbol of a movement. Help me to see that I’m the victim of what the Germans call Zeitgeist and that something was getting ready to happy in history. And that a boycott would have taken place in Montgomery, Alabama, if I had never come to Alabama. Help me to realize that I’m where I am because of the forces of history and because of the fifty thousand Negroes of Alabama who will never get their names in the papers and in the headlines. O God, help me to see that where I stand today, I stand because other helped me to stand there and because the forces of history projected me there” (pp. 104-105).
Excerpt from Invictus Nelson Mandela and the Game that made a Nation By John Carlin
Did Mandela have any flaws? Sisulu knew him better than anyone. His answer was that his old friend had a tendency to trust people too much, to take their good intentions too quickly at face. “He developed too much confidence in a person sometimes,” he said. “When he trusts a person, he goes all out”. But then Sisulu thought for a moment about what he had said and added, “But perhaps it is not a failing… Because the truth is that he has not let us down on account of that confidence he has in people.” Mandela’s weakness was his greatest strength. He succeeded because he chose to see good in people who ninety-nine people out of a hundred would have judged to have been beyond redemption. If the United Nations deemed apartheid to be a crime against humanity, then what greater criminals were there than apartheid’s minister of justice, apartheid’s chief of intelligence, apartheid’s top military commander, apartheid’s head of state? Yet Mandela zeroed in on that hidden kernel where their better angels lurked and drew out the goodness that is inside all people