Integrative Leadership and Societal Sustainability

By Eli Aaniyah

Sustainability is a widely used catchword originally used to denote the ideal balance point between the societal, political, economic, and ecological sectors. It has since been applied to many other areas to mean any activity that can be maintained at a consistent level over time and long term careful use of resources. In each case, it is an integration of systems to produce an outcome that will continue to produce returns over time.  The leadership in Pakistan needs to tap into this same concept and set aside personal and party agendas, and engage in integrative leadership by Serving Humanity for the sustainability of communities, the country, and the region.

Families are made by blood and marriage. They are a sustainable integrated system of interdependent people. All families are joined, further extending the system.  Commitment to the family is vital to the society. No reasonable person would consider violating this because without the family there is nothing. Additionally, no matter how insular the group, there have been intermarriages. Over the thousands of years, that means everyone in the country, probably the entire region, is related in some way. Just as it is not tolerated for someone within the family system to instigate a dispute, neither should it be tolerated for a leader to do it. The same pressure needs to be brought to bear on leaders who are instigating artificial divisions. Such fighting and squabbling as is going on between leaders is a waste of energy and detrimental to the sustainability of the family in the larger national and regional sense.

The historical competitive approach to leadership is a major contributing force driving wedges between groups. As people become increasingly entrenched in positions, cooperation slows and even stops altogether. The lack of cooperation causes a breakdown in the society, leading to disruptions in meeting the needs of the people. This behavior is also having the effect of enabling extremism to gain a greater foothold and ultimately violence. What is needed is for the wellbeing of the people in the communities and the country as a whole is for leadership figures to set aside their differences and act cooperatively for the greater good. It is the same as what is expected of individuals within families: that everyone set aside their personal demands and work for the best interest of the family. The scope of the family, in this case, extends to include the entire country and region, person by person and community by community.

There is no part of the region free from the devastating issues surrounding poverty. There is not anywhere that has not lost sons and husbands abroad for work. Some never really return. Quality education is in short supply and economic development is inconsistent. Nutrition and healthcare are also lacking.  The safety of women, children, students, teachers, and healthcare workers cannot be guaranteed. External aid is demanded but those providing it are condemned by leaders who raise up false devils for the sake of their own power. If external aid is not desirable, then integrative leaders should be on hand to work side by side with the people to search out what is needed for solutions from a variety of acceptable possibilities.

Integrated leadership is needed now. Leadership that is willing to act on the bigger picture, beyond the limited scope of a petty tyranny or hyper focused set of issues. Leaders are needed who are willing to undertake the far more relevant task of Serving Humanity. Leaders must be identified who are willing to find the common ground, to act on the common needs, and to identify the multiple resources to generate sustainable societal solutions. Leaders who are more invested in promoting their political party, religious association, local area, or good name above humanitarian service should not be tolerated, never mind supported, because their behavior goes against every family value treasured by the society. Leaders should not be exempt from adhering to the core family values of unity, cohesion, and mutual support. Instead, they should be the ones in the frontline as pathmakers in this regard.

It is possible to construct worthy solutions from the small contributions of many actors. By involving as many stakeholders as possible, there ends up being a high level of personal investment in the solution process and a feeling of ownership is produced. When this is done from the micro level of the community up to the macro level of the country and region, the reinforcement of the societal and family bonds will be a contingent outcome to the actual tasks accomplished for the good of the society. People coming together under integrative leadership will find that it is entirely possible to work with each other when common goals are emphasized. The more often the scenario is repeated, the more ingrained into the society will be the understanding and the practice of the national and regional family.

True leadership is all about service. Integrative leaders act by Serving Humanity across all demographic sectors to bring communities together to design, resource stock, and implement solutions. It is essential that authentic integrative leaders are identified and brought forward to begin building a collective will for a sustainable society by giving the people experiences that call on the family values that are at the core of the foundation of every culture in the country and the region.

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