“Do the right thing.” “Be professional.” “Lead by example.” I think about the folks who write articles about professionalism and wonder how well they abide by the suggestions they put forth. These are all noble attributes for which one should strive, but I think people not abiding by these is a result of human error and lack of cognizance. How do you work with folks who consistently err and do not come to a self-realization of these errors? Whose responsibility is it to help leaders realize their blinders?
Freeman and Ryan write, “Failure to maintain a focus on leading with professionalism will make it probable that your actions and words will lose a connection with your personal values.” This presumes that one’s personal values are reflective of an overall sense of professionalism, however one might define that ubiquitous word. How is one’s set of personal values conducive to professionalism? Could Marquis de Sade lead an organization with his personal values defining a sense of professionalism? I think of the Wheatley article we read at the beginning of the course talking about the effectiveness of terrorist organizations in accomplishing something. Is that toxic leadership, duping others into falling in line with one’s personal values to accomplish something greater (and potentially more harmful)?
Last night I was talking with a friend of mine about Ram Dass’s work Be Here Now. A teacher friend gave it to me in my last year at the school when my frustration level and concern about the future ran amuck. It reminded me to re-orient myself, to revel in the present and try to really BE HERE NOW. Though I do not view working in an organization in a spiritual sense, there are enriching experiences that can lead to greater spiritual and personal understanding. But we so often neglect to be in the moment, in the present. It makes me question how much we actively listen versus how often we pretend and let the thought-train in our minds drown out the sound of someone else’s verbalized thought-train. I know so often I’ve only caught pieces of conversation because of being pre-occupied with thoughts of things I have and want to do and whatever obsessions may be holding court in my mind. In a future-oriented world, where we anticipate needs and projected outcomes, how do we stay grounded in our work in the present? It requires much self-checking and a re-training to combat the socialization of productivity ideals. We live in the future; how do we begin to savor the process instead of the product in terms of professionalism?