Last week i shared some early work around a new programme exploring ‘The Moral Leader’ – essentially this work considers ourselves as imperfect leaders within imperfect systems, and asks how we make the decisions that we make, and how we stay true to the people we are accountable to – ourselves, others, and organisations.
I concluded the week sharing the four parts of this journey – ‘The Map’, exploring our moral landscape, and how it forms, ‘The Compass’, considering the tools we use to find our direction, ‘The Community’, which considers our relationship with others, and whether those relationships always make us ‘better’, and ‘The Journey’, which explores how we lead, and when we get lost.
Today i want to start building out the narrative structure of this: in my previous ‘Quiet Leadership’ work, i formed two key questions around each chapter, and i will start with the same approach here.
If you’ve ever hiked on a windy day, you will know the challenge with the map: as you unfold it’s creases, the wind catches it, and you try to fold it back into a compact structure that will show your narrow space of operation. Every time you unfold it to the big picture, you do battle with the wind. That’s kind of what we are exploring here: what is the biggest picture, and what is the nature of the wind that whips and catches the map.
When we consider ‘The Map’, we are asking ourselves about our moral landscape, the landscape within which we make our decisions. The kinds of questions that we may ask here include:
- How do you know what the ‘right’ thing to do is?
- Who draws the map of what is right and wrong? Is there more than one map?
- When do we get things wrong?
- Does our sense of right and wrong evolve over time?
- Is it ever right to do wrong?
- To whom are we accountable for our actions?
- Is what is ‘right’ for you to do always ‘right’ for me to do?
- Can you always do right, or is it inevitable to get lost?
The essence of this work is reflective practice: to consider ourselves as imperfect leaders within imperfect systems, but leaders nonetheless who strive to do better.
This requires us to understand the moral nature of leadership, and the complexities of the map that we follow.