Gabriel Ginebra, Cynthia Cherrey, and Domènec Melé
Leadership for Humanity
Translated and reprinted with the permission of Lideres Mexicanos. To read the original article in Spanish, please visit https://issuu.com/lideres_mexicanos/docs/issuu_abril_353.
The whole world is suffering a deep crisis of humane leadership. The pace of modern life, the constant decision making, and technology has taken us from the most precious gift – that of being human.
A Leader should inspire and allow their followers to have freedom of expression and action to move an organization forward, without forgetting that people’s wellbeing also deserves to be prioritized.
To open a dialogue to advance leadership knowledge and practice, create a reliable space for learning across borders, and provide reliable resources, Anáhuac University’s Center for Leadership Studies hosted a leadership colloquium where many great leaders participated. Cynthia Cherrey, Domènec Melé, and Gabriel Ginebra were three of the people invited to share their views about leadership for humanity and the challenges of incorporating this viewpoint about leadership into the actual world.
Adrián Ruiz de Chávez, the head of the Center for Leadership Studies, shared, “The objective of this summit is to think about how to respond during these turbulent times. This is why the title of the colloquium was, “The Changing of an Era,” because the paradigms, the mental models that have taken us to this place, are looking like they have not done a good job handling global problems and have instead made them worse. The current situation has to be approached with a deep dialogue asking: Where are we going? What values should we seek to perform? How do we solve our problems?
Cynthia Cherrey, President and CEO of the International Leadership Association explained that “the global economy has helped place more people in the middle class, however, there are many still living below the poverty line and it has amplified a fractured society. Today, all human beings have a responsibility to do more for the good of all and to think about doing it at a local level within our own communities.
These colloquiums are more important now than ever before. We need to create a space to reunite different people, who come from different sectors, backgrounds, or organizations and with differing levels of economic resources, to talk about our difficult and complex problems, such as humanity and the importance of how we are connected to each other. Modern technology accelerates the world’s interconnectivity However, people still need and hunger for in-person, human interaction.”
Gabriel Ginebra, business thinker, explained that “within this process of life acceleration, there exists many ingredients, but without a doubt, the most striking of which is technology, social media, and forms of communication that expedite the communication process. This has produced a collapse of social cohesion. We are flooded with so much information that we are not paying attention to one another.”
Domènec Melé, Emeritus Professor in the Department of Business Ethics at IESE and the holder of the Chair of Business Ethics at IESE explained, “There are many challenges to actual leadership. It appears that CEOs are only focused on increasing the value of the shareholders. They have forgotten that they should be working towards the common good.”
Melé, who is also a Catholic priest with a Ph.D. in Theology went on to explain “the Church’s social teachings instruct us to rethink how labor positions are fixed. Despite there being many positions supported by different ideologies, I support that of the Church, which is supported by good anthropology and which leads to the most important development, the person.”
Cynthia Cherrey explained that there is not one way to be a leader: “Everybody must find their own path. I believe that there are some things that are very important. First is self-leadership. Become more self-aware, know yourself, know who you are, and know what your passion is. Remaining intellectually curious is the most important. Use your self-awareness to know yourself in relation to others. Second, ask: How do I interact with people? Who have I impacted? Who have I influenced? Third, look at how you are in relation to others and how you are in relation to your community. Ask: How do I care for myself and others? A good leader observes how they see themselves, observes how they see each other, and observes how they relate to their community. All are interrelated and important.”
Peaceful and Ethical Leadership
To remain ethical in this modern day and age Gabriel Ginebra explained, “We need to deeply reflect upon the roots of humanism and leadership and how it should be. There is a general sense that the leadership model centered on results, which is fast paced and highly structured, has led us down the wrong path. Therefore, we must embrace a humanistic reflection that also practices a new interpretation of leadership to recuperate from this collective illusion.”
He added, “this leadership model must be deconstructed in order to face current challenges. My proposal is a model that I have developed focused on the concept of peaceful leadership, which first analyzes the failures of an accelerated, overburdened organization that disastrously overloads the minds and hearts of its leaders and causes them to rush, in a joined pathology, and lose our human connectedness.
In my approach we can create the sense of human connectedness in leadership. Where people matter, they have time to learn, make mistakes and recover, and take strategic risks. They have time to learn distinct tools. One of the philosophic principles has to do with work intensity. We need adequate space to do things, participate fully and authentically in collaborative meetings, and recuperate from our work together instead of being afraid that we’re falling behind.
We want to make quality decisions. Let’s abandon reckless leadership so we can become peaceful leaders. Peaceful leaders enjoy their work, make their decisions calmly, and do their job. They have work that they are proud of and can enjoy.”
Likewise, Domènec Melé, explained that under this new more humane leadership, a leader “should provide a positive and empathetic influence, and develop a vision to work towards the common good. One of the conditions to achieve this motivation is that people cannot believe that leaders taking advantage of them. Rather, leaders must be perceived as taking actions that are for the good of everyone including them.”
A Courageous Future Vision
Regarding how they see leadership in five to ten years, Cynthia Cherrey explained that “there are different ways to see the future. Some days you look at what happens in the world and wonder, is there hope? Then other days, most days, you believe in humanity, you believe in the kindness of individuals, you believe in goodness. You believe in a world seeking leadership in which nations realize the importance of working collaboratively, collectively, and together towards solving the major problems we are all fighting.”
“During the next five to ten years, I hope we will make progress on the UN Sustainable Development Goals that impact all our nations and local communities. In the future, I believe leadership can make a difference for individuals and the greater good of the collective. That is my hope and what I would like the world to strive toward.”
For his part, Gabriel Ginebra explained that to achieve peaceful, humane leadership it is necessary to recover our values. “I try to claim and push sincerity in meetings. We must seek to transform the system to a friendlier way that puts trust ahead of control. This is not utopian. Humane leadership is believing that the accelerated path we are on will lead us to something good.”
To finish, Domènec Melé asserted that it is necessary to “return to the concept of equality and equity. You must change your mindset. If you have the self-serving mentality of shareholders, you will always think of people as assets. But, if you are a wise leader, you will see your people as people and will seek to find the common good in every situation.”
Caleb Garbuio, who translated the above article from the original Spanish, is a Senior Economics Major at Appalachian State University. From May to August 2020, he was a communications and marketing intern at the International Leadership Association.