Article by Noah Rabinowitz and Bernadine Karunaratne
The drive of self-interest has become a prevalent dimension of everyday life. This societal trend toward self-interest, materialism, and competitive aggression, has been documented in magazines and books, including The Narcissism Epidemic by Jean Twenge and Keith Campbell. Leadership development—or any course of self-improvement—requires a degree of self-involvement, but there is a big-picture risk to the growing culture of “me.” Unfortunately, a rising tide of self-interest can jeopardize longterm organizational progress and strategy.
To create a sustainable impact that goes beyond quarterly statements, leaders need to embrace a purpose beyond themselves. Most leaders will naturally express a desire to do this. They want to create, serve, build, and improve in the service of a broader and more long-term goal. This sense of meaningful contribution is the reason people get satisfaction out of mentoring and teaching others. However, many leaders suppress this desire in order to serve more practical, short-term objectives. People want to serve others, but for many reasons often end up serving only their own more immediate agenda.
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