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DARING LEADERSHIP IN A TIME OF HEALING

As salam Alaikum. Peace be upon you. And peace be upon all of us.

We are all thinking of Otautahi, Christchurch, and everyone affected by the despicable acts of terror last weekend. Deepest love, condolences and prayers to our Muslim whanau, the families who have lost loved ones, to the victims who are injured and hurt, the Muslim communities who are traumatised and grieving, to our colleagues and friends affected by this atrocity. We honour those whose lives were taken and those whose courage and bravery are shining in these darkest of times.

Leadership, aroha, strength of character and action are required of all of us - to help our neighbours, friends, communities, and to respond to the needs of those affected. To show that we value human life and that we love each other. We must show solidarity and respect for our Muslim friends, colleagues and whānau. We must speak up and stand up for everyone’s right to live peacefully and to practice their religion and faith in this beautiful land we are all blessed to call home.

As a movement of leaders across the full diversity of Aotearoa, Leadership NZ is committed to building an inclusive society in which all people feel they belong - a society in which aroha, manaakitanga and kotahitanga underpin our lives.

This year we are embracing Daring Leadership. We believe we need braver leaders and more courageous cultures. How do we cultivate braver, more daring leaders? How do we embed the value of courage in our companies and communities?  Recent events demand that we absolutely step up courageously with empathy and aroha.

We must be daring to create change, be the change – daring to challenge and stamp out racism, bigotry and all forms of discrimination. We must learn more about each other. We must open our arms and hearts across the divides of our diverse communities. We must have the tough conversations, be courageous, be truth tellers and share stories.

Truly daring leaders must be prepared to be vulnerable and listen without interrupting. We need leaders with empathy, self-awareness and self-love, because who we are is how we lead.

In Dare to Lead, Brené Brown says, “If we want people to fully show up, to bring their whole selves including their unarmored, whole hearts—so that we can innovate, solve problems, and serve people—we have to be vigilant about creating a culture in which people feel safe, seen, heard, and respected.”

The greatest barrier to courageous leadership is not fear—it’s how we respond to our fear. Our armour —the thoughts, emotions, and behaviours that we use to protect ourselves when we aren’t willing and able to rumble with vulnerability—move us out of alignment with our values, corrode trust with our colleagues and teams, and prevent us from being our most courageous selves.”

As champions of daring leadership, this year we will look across our spheres of influence and operating systems to see them with new eyes and think about what a leap in leadership would look like. What we must do as a powerful ecosystem of leaders to help heal our nation #leadersarehealers, to build true relationships of understanding, tolerance and love. We must help and support each other to create a more peaceful and harmonious society in which everyone can thrive and flourish.

I hope you will join us in this quest.

Peace and love

Sina Wendt

Sina Wendt is Chief Executive of Leadership NZ and Alumna 2008 of The New Zealand Leadership Programme.