Text: Anna Rósa Parker
With the Icelandic parliamentary election coming up in September, it sparked a thought about leadership and the difference between being elected and governing - and how promises die in that transition.
Iceland’s political parties don't seem to lead with inclusivity and it has become a thriving nation for privileged people - neglecting the elderly, the poor and immigrants. How come such a small nation doesn’t seem to be interested in building a culture where everyone can thrive?
What would it take for an incremental change in such a small nation? And is it possible to introduce a philosophy of inclusive political leadership? Where would it begin?
This makes me think about what it takes to be a leader and how committing to small, but meaningful changes can end in purpose-led success. Repurposing the mission of political parties could be brilliantly restructured using an inclusive leadership method - almost the same as repurposing a business mission.
This pattern has to begin with individually implementing active personal growth, as each member would have to make changes in leading their lives to inspire their party members. This will inevitably inspire their voters.
A couple of months ago I attended a virtual women’s leadership conference hosted by the Nordic Innovation House New York. It was catered to Nordic women launching or running a business in the US, where a brilliant woman named Jennifer Brown - the author of How To Be An Inclusive Leader, spoke about running a sustainable business. Needless to say, I took to her leadership method and thought about how her structure can be transitioned to political parties of a very small nation like Iceland.
Starting with accountability, when leaders start to take ownership and stop their blame games real change can happen. If we don’t own the problem we can’t change it. Next is an attitude of gratitude and forgiveness. Practising gratitude leads to forgiveness and forgiveness leads to selfless actions and freedom.
This is followed by aptitude - honoring each individual and celebrating their unique gifts. Honoring the lack of “I” in team means that we’re willing to understand that we’re all different and togetherness creates solid teams. This goes without saying, but honoring others has to start by mindfully honoring ourselves.
Action is next and showcases how and if we can act via guidance. Can we take actions that are free of a selfish agenda? When we take actions that are catered to what’s best for others, we close gaps.
Listening to advisors is how we become wise: those who listen to wise advice gain nothing but wisdom. All this can be wrapped in a bow of allowing. Allowing and letting go of stubborn thought patterns that don't serve others is how we can live with equity and lead with inclusiveness.
Creating an inclusive and sustainable business builds inclusive communities and thriving communities and is how we foster social upheaval and an inclusive minded nation. When political leaders are willing to allow room to understand biases by actively
addressing the harms that are caused by inequality, it becomes the ideal gateway drug to inclusive and equally thriving communities.