The world is facing complex sustainability challenges, manifested in many interdependent crises, including climate change, deforestation and desertification, hunger and poverty, lack of drinking water, public health issues, political conflicts, institutional failure, loss of biodiversity, among others. All these crises diminish people’s trust in social structures, in leaders, and even in themselves.
Little has been said that sustainability is not just a way to make better use of technology (e.g. cleaner energy), but that is also a form of “being” different. As Marina Silva (former environmental minister of Brazil) says, is valuing the “being” instead of the “doing”, “having” and the “appearing”.
But, how to value this “being” different? Here are some tips, the elements of authentic leadership (studied by researchers as Bruce Avolio, William Gardner, Fred Walumbwa), one of the theories that I am using in my doctoral research:
- Relational transparency: it is to be transparent, to present the authentic “self” to others, honestly share information and feelings, thus promoting confidence in relationships.
- Self-awareness: this is a little more difficult, requires self-knowledge and self-development over time. Understand the world in a larger, more inclusive form. Self-awareness refers to a deep process of discovering who one is, learning about internalized concepts and visions, how one makes meaning of the world and how that meaning making process impacts the way one views himself over time. It’s like climbing a mountain during lifetime, and on this uphill discovering new vistas, new ways of seeing and understanding the world and himself. For more see the “Constructive Developmental Theory”.
- Balanced processing: objectively analyzing all relevant information before making a decision, without prejudice to any information that does not fit in the current internalized worldview. Also, to look for points of view that challenge core beliefs and try to understand with open heart and mind.
- Internalized moral perspective: it is a form of internal self-regulation, guided by internal values and moral standards versus group and society pressures. It results in decision-making and behavior consistent with internal values, independent of social pressures to the contrary.
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