An editorial to the November edition of Leadership Post
We will remember November 2020 as the month when the Multiannual Financial Framework – the future seven year long EU budget – has been vetoed at the political level by two member states, in order to gain negotiation leverage against the introduction of a new rule of law mechanism tied to the payouts of EU funds.
This is a moment when it is easy to conclude: life is just much more unpredictable than any exercise or simulation game that we do with the Fellows of the European Leadership Programme. How to best prepare future leaders for unwritten playbooks, for the inevitable surprises of human nature and for the volatile environment?
Certainly, good leaders need orientation points, carved in shared Christian values and the principles of social justice. This may overwrite myopic political goals and the general short-termism that is overtaking nowadays so often. Leaders are not representing their true case if they cannot liberate themselves from pressures of everyday politics when history calls. In other words, leaders are not political managers, they need to think how to best serve the people, among them, the most vulnerable.
This month the Fellows had the chance to discuss with the current vice-president of the French National Bank, Sylvie Goulard, a devoted European with significant challenges behind her. One cannot say she did not face the unexpected. Same is true regarding Clemens Ladenburger, Principal Legal Adviser in the Legal Service of the European Commission. The witnesses the Cohort listened to and discussed brought real life leadership experience. No textbook can come close to such discernment.
Real leaders need a team. Preparation for and reaction to black swan events is just much easier when a leader can rely on insights of people around her/him. This is why ELP keeps the FLIGBY simulation game under the training of Dr. Szilvia Fodor, psychologist, as one of its cornerstone of the five month long formation. The Flow Leadership exercises are rooted in the flow theory developed by Prof. Mihaly Csikszentmihaly at University of Chicago. He described the mental state in terms of challenge level and skill level. Fellows will be able to understand better the motivation of future colleagues and teammates.
Finally, our Fellows are also getting trained to be cautious. Especially online. The Cohort discussed the fresh Netflix documentary “Social Dilemma” with Ms. Anett Madi-Nator, president of Women4Cyber Foundation Brussels, herself a cyber security specialist. Caution and awareness in the cyber space serves to avoid as many dangers as possible.
As the readers might get the core of ELP’s formation by now: we train leaders to be able to discern their vocation, in turn, to be engaged in the deepest way with their mission through their future jobs. Whether in public or private life; business, politics or NGOs. The Fellows are constantly oriented toward the common values, this month through the Passion for Europe group event on Fratelli Tutti, the recent papal encyclical letter. Finally, the corona-safe ELP weekend retreat programme offered a chance to grow in their faith and understanding of the Ignatian tradition of spiritual conversations.
JESC ELP Manager & Secretary for Leadership
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