BY Nick Jankel

Author, Futurist, Leadership Developer, Philosopher, Wisdom Teacher

In challenging times, we need a kind of leadership that can disrupt the status quo with as little pain and as much elegance as possible. I believe the times we live and work in demand that we focus our entire mind and body on ensuring our organizations—and the systems we are part of—remain match fit for the future.

Ethical leadership is a deep and authentic caring for people and planet that orients all our work as leaders. It should not be confused with a mere social mission or desire to do good. It is a genuine calling we are compelled to follow that we feel deep within our bodymind. Below I share 5 keys to developing as purposeful and ethical leaders:

1. The transformational, ethical leader understands that when they see and feel, through the lens of purpose, there are massive opportunities for positive social and ecological impact hidden within every transformational challenge that is thrown up the threatening VUCA reality.

2. Our inner intuitions and insights are ultimately the only guides we have to matters of conscience. We understand the inherent value of making decisions based on both objective ‘facts’ (data about our customers and markets) and our constantly refined subjective moral intuitions. We cannot use just eternal moral principles (from religious rules) or rational data from the past to make great decisions in an alive moment that has never occurred before.

3. Therefore, to be a purpose-led transformational leader, we must take time for regular introspection and soul-searching; especially when we get an interoceptive-emotional intuition that we are off purpose or out of integrity.

4. I also recommend that you purposefully avoid situations that lessen your integrity: particularly people and contexts that trigger your addictions and that lessen your sense of connection. Instead, invest precious and scant time into metabolizing your ‘failures’ and ‘crushed dreams’ into deeper truths about why you are here; and how you can serve your fellow humans; and the planet we all rely on for health and happiness.

5. This is a Third Way creative tension between both data-driven and intuitive decision-making. Research has shown that City traders who use data and intuition together made far better returns that those that use just one form of decision making.

Such decisions must blend the obvious requirement for performance/profit with the need to reduce the suffering of people and planet. We must be able to make such bold and tough decisions without perfect data in complex and chaotic ‘hot’ environments by relying as much on our inner guidance as data about the market.

A transformational leader called by purpose is free to ensure every project or organization he/she leads is rooted in a purpose beyond profit: a business purpose that genuinely seeks to transform human suffering and planetary devastation.

Purpose is the lens of creativity through which we can find our way to building ethical and regenerative business models that are planet-ready and future-positive.

Switch On’s Transformational Leadership services:

We design and deliver for organization’s neuroscience-based transformational leadership programs that develop transformational leaders who take charge of change to land outstanding immediate results and long-term transformation in complex and challenging times.

Personally, if want to master the foundations of transformational leadership, take a look at our Mindsets of Transformational Leadership Toolkit. Work independently or team up with a colleague to boost your leadership agility, creativity, and adaptability with our “plug-and-play” toolkit.