The most memorable leaders spurn complacency and embody growth

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If you’ve joined me from my previous post, Michael would be proud of me.

This is part two of my musings – about a journey in time, in the heady, dying days of the Indonesian Suharto regime, of an international school setting in the north of Jakarta, where a disparate group of life affirming and aspirational people, young and old, from all corners of the globe came together, to collectively live, work and learn to discover some of the greatest life and leadership lessons of all.

Michael, our school leader, enticed us to stay with him not only on his end of year address but consistently on his vision he had for all of us and our continued growth and development.

So now, on with the reveal of our much loved leader’s message…

To recap…

This yearly message came from our much loved and admired school leader, Michael, and never changed from one year to the next. It was a simple exhortation to uphold a one and only (tongue in cheek), activity over and over again for every day of our long break. It was delivered with his requisite smirk, knowing the bemused reaction he was going to receive, yet masking the genuine significance which he embodied for his students’ and teaching faculty’s consistent advancement and expansion.

Michael’s message lead with his wish that all his students (and teachers) had fun, exhilaration and relaxation on their holidays, but invited us to do something significantly important, yet subsequently, seemingly mundane every single day….

READ, READ, READ, then come back and share your new insights with the rest of us to fuel our collaborative growth.

Amongst the good natured groans from his student and teaching cohort we all knew that he understood, that through this message, not only would we continue to expand our minds and insights into the workings of the world and the knowledge of others, we would also be building the fundamental human connections that drive our growth as individuals, teams, organisations and communities striving towards successful change, achievement and fulfilment.

Just as the best leaders avoid the dictatorial approach but rather extend invitations for us to explore and act, the art of storytelling that we discover in books does that same.

Great leaders, like authors, invite us into their world.

Authors invites us into their world. They encourage us to connect with them through their stories. As readers we are free and unencumbered to do what we will with those stories. Authors don’t tell us how to think, feel or act upon their message – our inherent capacity to learn means we decide how we interpret and integrate their messages with our own sense of the world and the mental models we live by. We choose what changes we adopt in our thoughts, feelings and behaviours as a result and construct our own way forward with the author’s message as our guide. Michael’s icing on the, read, read, read cake was to remind us to collaborate and share our insights with each other to further fuel our collective learning.

It was this simple, yet resonant insight, of his deep care for us as fellow humans striving for growth and purpose, that struck me. He is one of the memorable leaders I have had the privilege to work with and learn from.

My career has afforded me the honour to live and work across four continents, traverse the globe, visit countless countries immersed in numerous cultures and broad personalities.

It has encompassed the leadership, guidance and growth of thousands of fellow beings both big and small, young and old, speaking all manner of diverse languages, across educational, business, government and not for profit environments.

Memorable leaders consistently strive for human learning, innovation and change.

Notwithstanding the exponential learning, it is this simple message that drives me to share stories of leaders who consistently strive for human learning, innovation and change, to advance the collective team and organisational growth that follows. It’s a simple message I carry with me, secured safely in a corner of my mind imbuing the way I live my professional and personal life.

Embodied in this message are the memorable leaders, like my American/Jakartan head of school, Michael, who never wanted us to become complacent and always put the pursuit of our collective growth and development at the top of his leadership list. He knew it was the quickest way to advance our community as a whole.

What is the human imperative in a rapidly advancing world?

And so let’s end for now with this thought – What is the Human Imperative in a Rapidly Advancing World? It reminds us that whilst we take full advantage of the exponential growth of our collective knowledge and ever expanding innovations, we keep sight of the one critical factor underpinning and managing the incessant speed of change…

It’s ultimately the power of the human connection that drives us forward.

At its heart it’s a simple concept and one that stretches back in time – it’s our ability to lead and cultivate ourselves and each other’s progress through life that fuels our ability to learn, change and grow and reach our full potential.

Throughout ongoing posts, my aim is to unpack this and other concepts and share with you what I have learned, and am still learning from my journey thus far over change, research, teaching and leading.

I invite you to share in my exploration of this and other leadership and change stories picked up along the way. The results of those early seeds have fed mine and others’ onward journeys to the Higher Curve – it would be incredible if you wanted to share your seeds of wisdom too.

Gabby Hartin M’Ed (USA), B’Ed (Aust.) MATID

Gabby Hartin M’Ed (USA), B’Ed (Aust.) MATID

Gabby is the Founder and CEO of Higher Curve. a Human Development Agency helping organisations utilise the uniquely human traits that will guide us through the turbulence of an unpredictable world. As a world recognised Human Development Expert, she works with organisations to unlock the human potential within. She delivers her passion across Australia and around the world.

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