“Great leadership” is not great if it doesn’t create impact. In fact, that is why there are so many organizations that focus on harnessing human interactions and connections to create solutions for the world.
Ask people to name great leaders, and chances are that they will choose a person who “fought to improve the state of the world” in one way or another; Gandhi, Malala, perhaps, or even Obama. That fight drove them to deliver some impact in the world, to unleash some change in society. This means that any serious examination of what it means to be a leader must include the recognition that one can be responsible for causing great good and delivering impact.
The core of leadership is not rational—it is deeply psychological and emotional. To be honest, I do not believe it is possible to “teach” leadership in the way other subjects are taught: lectures, videos, essays and/or written examinations. Just try to run a marathon focusing your training on watching sports videos – good luck with that!
But leadership can be learned. Given the right conditions, virtually anyone can develop his capacity to lead more effectively. Leadership also takes work. Anyone who wants to run a marathon in under three hours has to spend months practicing. Just so—dreamers who want to develop their capacity to lead must get their hands dirty and actually “do” leadership.
Doing leadership means putting our knowledge and skills at the service of the world. And to do this, we need to keep improving our abilities to see the world and execute our visions of it. Constantly looking for new ways of generating a greater impact sounds challenging, but there are ways to code ourselves to relentlessly pursue social impact:
1. Stay Hungry: never stop learning. Go to google and you will find hundreds, if not thousands of free courses online. Whatever your passion or interest, you will be able to find several learning sources to enrich you every day.
2. Stay Foolish: do not stop believing you can make a change. The world is facing life threatening issues right now, but it is totally in our power to reverse these threats if we stay connected to our ambitions of change and impact.
3. Stay Connected: do not isolate yourself. Find a community or group of people that inspires you and challenges you to become better.
A while ago, I received a call from Jim Garrison, founder of Ubiquity University, a new type of University designed for Social Impact. Ubiquity focuses on change makers and the creation of an enabling environment to generate solutions to the world’s most pressing issues.
By creating a global community of social innovators, activists and change makers, Ubiquity facilitates learning environments that aim to generate collaborative actions and have a real impact on real issues.
Now if you that’s pretty interesting, wait till you hear this.
Ubiquity University will soon launch a prize to support student involvement in solving global challenges framed by the Sustainable Development Goals. Imagine receiving 25.000 USD to bring your ideas to reality. This struck me as a refreshingly proactive approach and a forward thinking way of looking at a University’s role in society.
As I said, I don’t believe in great leadership that does not create impact. If you consider yourself a leader, I would ask you: what have you done to make this world a better place? I challenge you to back your ideas and present them to Ubiquity University for a chance to win the Global Creativity Prize. This is a real opportunity to create real impact. It’s time for you to step up!