Real change is never accidental, nor does it come easy. In order to be able to create the bright future we all dream of, we need to acknowledge that there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done. It’s going to take time and a whole lot of dedication, but most importantly, it’s going to take all of us.
Sure, every small achievement counts and little progress is better than no progress at all, but if we really want to make an impact, to create the shift we so desperately desire, then it’s time to realize that it’s not going to happen until everyone is involved. Until we make sure everyone has not only the right tools, but also the desire to help improve our society. More than ever before, the world is in need of leaders that will motivate and empower everyone around them to strive for more; of leaders that see the importance of enabling people to take action.
There are many things that come to mind when thinking about leadership and how it connects to the world around us. More often than not, it’s seen as a very self-centric concept and not really as something that’s linked to collective development and well-being. We’ve all heard the story before: leaders sit alone at the top, looking down at their teams and making sure instructions are being followed.
In reality, things are a bit different. Tangible results don’t come from bossing people around, nor from separating yourself from the rest, but from being able to show empathy to those around you. After all, being a leader is not as much about yourself as it is about the lives you manage to touch. About the ones you’ve encouraged to take matters into their own hands, to go on and try to make a difference.
Science seems to back this up. A research study conducted by Development Dimensions International, a global human resources consulting firm focused on forming leaders, shows that the correlation between empathy and leadership performance is stronger than any other skill; contributing to innovation and better performance. Think of it as a chain reaction – you may do great things all by yourself, but what if you also manage to have a team that feels empowered to work hard and smart to achieve their goals? What if they enable other people to do the same, to become responsible and make an impact? What if this goes on and on and on, touching every young person in the world and motivating them to become an agent of change?
There’s a lot we still have to achieve, so many things we still have to improve on, and the most valuable contribution we can bring is to show empathy, to empower the ones around us, to help them see their own potential and start getting involved.
When it’s all said and done, remember that every single person you manage to touch is another step towards change.8