April 21, 2015

Why exploring the new leadership landscape starts in our own minds

Yogesh Sharda, meditation and spiritual development teacher, reflects on the 2015 Performance Theatre theme and finds that our own mind-set is the starting point for successful leadership

The new landscape in which leaders must operate requires newness in our understanding and style of leadership.

It is true that in today’s ultra tech-connected world, more people are exposed to information, misinformation and disinformation than ever before. This shapes mind-sets and colours attitudes.

The violence and extremism we see today are, in fact, not the real problems. They are symptoms of the underlying real cause of problems that have deeper roots – namely a broken humanity that has given birth to mistrust and disenfranchisement.

Deeper problems require deeper solutions. We need to do more than look only at economics and politics as solutions. We need also to look at ourselves and understand how our attitudes, and vision of and towards others impacts their behaviour and reciprocal actions. Indeed, at the very heart of it all, we have a human problem, a civilisation problem, a ‘consciousness problem’.

Bullets and bombs can kill terrorists, but they cannot kill terrorism. Terrorism starts in the mind – and so the solution also starts in the mind. Violent behaviour is a mind-set; our violent thoughts, violent attitudes, violent words and communications culminate in violent actions. Dealing with our attitudes and vision as human beings can no longer take second place to economics and politics, if we are to find long-term solutions aimed at building a more harmonious world.

An important element of handling disenfranchised and disaffected youth is winning hearts and minds. This requires us to review how we treat each other, and how we behave towards others when faced with opposition, criticism and aggression.

I am fond of the saying that 90 per cent of a conflict is due to hurting another person’s dignity and ten per cent of a conflict is due to differences of opinion.

The effective and heroic leaders of tomorrow will be those who have a deep understanding and appreciation of what it means to be human, and who address perhaps the most important need humans have of other humans: to feel respected and have their dignity taken care of.

Only one with a strong heart and stable mind can win the hearts and minds of others.

Yogesh Sharda is a teacher of meditation and spiritual development currently based in Istanbul as the national co-ordinator for Turkey of the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University.