Regardless of political beliefs, most who watched President Obama's moving sermon for the late Clementa Pinkney on Friday were touched. The reverend and state senator was sadly struck down in the recent African Methodist Episcopal church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina. The President reminded the attendees and the country that regardless of good or bad behavior, everyone lives at the generous grace of god.
Business leaders -- more than most -- carry heavy responsibility for the culture and environments created in their companies and communities. However ambition, power, and greed can often cloud judgment and sometimes unintentionally create unnecessarily thoughtless conditions for workers, customers, and constituencies.
The most enlightened business leaders look beyond responsibility and hold themselves accountable for their actions. They strive to be good people and do no harm. Still, as human beings, some reminders are needed now and then to put people at the forefront and be worthy of the grace heavenly bestowed. This list makes for a great daily reminder.
1. Be just.
The world today is an integration of all types of people. Businesses are often international even when unintended. While society is far from equal, there are more minorities and women involved in business than ever before. A worthy business leader treats everyone as equal human beings, respecting their dignity regardless of race, creed, gender, orientation, intelligence, or socio-economic background.
2. Be open.
Closed-mindedness will cost you respect and wealth. Learn to listen without the inner voice. Consider the fact that you may not always be right or have all the answers. Listen with a spirit of inquiry and seek to understand before passing judgment.
3. Be fair.
Being arbitrary without valid consideration sets a bad example for those who follow your leadership. Be empathetic to all sides of the debate and make decisions of which your community can be proud.
4. Be passionate.
There are no blessings in mediocrity. Half effort sets a bad example for those who want to make this world a better place. Show thought, conviction, and purpose in your words and actions.
4. Be sharing.
There is no joy in successful solitude. When you are blessed with wealth find ways to better the community and impart helpful knowledge so all can rise up together.
5. Be righteous.
Cheating, lying, and stealing may help you acquire wealth and power, but at what price? A leader living on the right side of law and ethics is forever respected by thousands. The deviant is forever branded a despised and lowly snake, regardless of acquisition.
6. Be spiritual.
Regardless of religious belief, most understand a greater consciousness or soul in people. Feed that spirituality with thought and action that goes beyond material pleasures. Cultivate your inner self and give freely of what lies in your mind and heart.
8. Be reasonable.
It's so easy to get lost in your own direction and thinking that you lose sight of the impact of your actions. Consider the effect of your approach. Make sure it has the most positive outcome possible for all those involved.
9. Be committed.
Why bother to be in a leadership position if you aren't committed to the well-being of those you lead? Even when it's hard, strive for taking people to a good place where many can benefit. There are already plenty of others in business who simply want to rape and run. Instead, appreciate the beauty and inner strength that comes with walking the gracious path.