Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sensitive Leadership

The diocesan bulletin finishes the series of articles on communication with the place of  mutual understanding  as an important quality in  leadership. The professor uses the words of Pope Francis asking when we give alms to a beggar do we look into their eyes? If not do we at least  grasp their  hand? With these gestures we are meeting the person to whom we are  giving alms. We need to be at the same  level of the person with whom we are trying  to communicate and be sensitive to their situation. The pope's method of leadership in understanding  is not  what we usually see in society, but rather the 'follow me'  bulldozer type of leadership.

Korea's economic and educational level is that of a developed country, and with the changes  we have in society the bulldozer type of leader is not what we need. No matter how capable a person is the lone-ranger type of approach does not easily solve our problems. What we need is respect for the other, sensitivity to another position. We want all to participate and ask those in  leadership to be sensitive and have respect for the others within the community.

Communicating requires that the leader does not reign over the community but stand together with them, and look into their eyes.This is the first first requisite of a  leader. Dialogue to mediate and manage the conflicts and misunderstandings, to encourage, praise, assist the members of the community to spontaneously  judge their situation and take the initiative in finding solutions. Changes from outside are many and efforts to correct and harmoniously deal with the problems that arise are necessary.

In every society we have the progressives and conservatives, the left and the right, conflict and misunderstandings. We have those that agree and those opposed, those who like and those who don't:  a very normal situation.  We take  this for granted. The means we need to follow require we persuade those who are involved. This does not mean we try to have others on our side or overcome them, but to remain in dialogue. Success or failure in persuading depends on the opening of the hearts of the others. The effort expended requires a great deal of energy and is a difficult process. All parties have to see the result of dialogue  as a victory, and be able to live with the results. From this understanding we have leadership by persuasion and co-existence.

Leaders try to manage, be administrators of people. They  need  to read the hearts of those in their community, and read their own heart and emotions. To do this, their EQ index (Emotional Quotient-- measure of a person's adequacy in such areas as self-awareness, empathy, and dealing sensitively with others) has to be raised and to  help those in the community to raise their own index. We need to smooth over the  sediment from  emotions that are not helpful, and harmonize  the feelings that come from sensitivity, and help the members to relate gently with one another, which means sensitive leadership.

This  does not require a  need to  speak well.  What  is needed for communication, concludes the professor,  is the meeting of hearts. Without sympathy we will not have communication. This leadership sensitivity is what we mean by communication leadership. This kind of leadership is not only for the individual, an organization,  a company or a community, but for all of society.

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