Authentic leadership: ten values we have to change

Spring 2014
Scilla Elworthy

Since the age of 13 I have tried to be an agent of peace. My peace-building efforts led
me to establish the Oxford Research Group in 1982 to promote effective dialogue
between opposing forces possessing nuclear weapons and to later establish Peace
Direct for the purpose of promoting peaceful action on more local fronts.


The Spirit of Humanity Forum is a new global network of organisations, communities and individuals committed to catalysing systemic change in governance and decision- making.The Forum creates a safe space for deeper encounter, exploration and dialogue among leaders seeking new ways to move forward. At the second forum conference The Power of Love and Compassion in Governance – Sharing Actions for Effective Change in Reykjavik earlier this year, international peace activist Scilla Elworthy analysed the current leadership crisis and proposed ten necessary shifts in perspectives and values.

First Paragraph

Our world faces multiple crises. Attempts to address them are not working. Einstein said that no problem can be solved from the consciousness that created it. So what is the current shift in consciousness that is required to enable us to resolve global problems?Authentic leadership – the kind so deeply needed on the planet now – begins in the radical mastery of one’s inner being. Brilliance, charisma, eloquence, vision – these are wonderful gifts that a leader can possess – but these gifts gain ultimate effect and coherence only when fuelled and sustained by inner power. Inner power is the diamond formed by years of honing self-awareness, practising selflessness and observing and controlling the ego. It results from developing the essential skill of empathy, even for those who oppose you – and the humble commitment to keep learning the skills of deep
listening and mediation. What I’m expressing here has been known in all the great spiritual traditions, but needs to be reclaimed for a secular world in crisis, and in language that all can understand. Without leaders of this kind in every sphere and institution of our world, our chances of survival are grim. With such leaders, you and I can build a world that our grandchildren will be proud of.