Leadership | Entrepreneurial Personalities
We need heroes. An appeal!
From Sabine Walter
The heroes are dead. We need heroes. The legends of heroes like Siegfried, Homer and Odysseus have long been a thing of the past. And yet the social search for heroes of our time is more topical than ever. What makes heroes? And why do we need them so urgently today? We would like to answer these two questions in this article.
Who is a hero? A clarification of terms.
If you look up the word "hero" in the Duden dictionary, you will find various meanings:
- A man of noble birth distinguished by great and bold deeds, especially in battle and war.
- Someone who faces a difficult task with intrepidity and courage, performs an unusual deed that earns him admiration.
- someone who distinguishes himself by exceptional bravery in war and is [made] a role model by his conduct.
- someone who achieves outstanding, socially significant things in his or her field.
So acting heroically means today as it did then: To burn for the cause, to be courageous, to grab hold, to take responsibility, to go ahead, to create or leave something behind, to grow beyond the usual.
What distinguishes the heroes of today from those of the past?
1. together instead of alone
Courageous solo efforts, such as those made by Siegfried or Odysseus, are not enough today to solve the world's political, social and entrepreneurial problems. The world is too complex and too interconnected for that. What we need are people who understand the complexity, keep an overview and align their actions with the good of all.
2. power implies social responsibility
Power - whether political or economic - implies social responsibility and requires genuine shaping in terms of the future of our global togetherness. Not only politicians, but above all companies have a responsibility for the future of people through their global presence. If Bayer decides to ship seeds infertile, it has a massive global impact. If Apple decides to launch a new iPhone model every year, it has a massive global impact. If Aldi or Lidl decide to do that, No plastic packaging more, this has a massive global impact. If shipping companies decide to equip their ships with environmentally friendly fuel to operate, this has massive global implications.
From this we can see, the responsibility of companies is not primarily to fulfil the return expectations of shareholders or investors, but to assume socio-political responsibility for our planet and for us as human beings.
3. visionary design instead of personal status
We need a rethinking of entrepreneurial objectives. We need courageous and determined entrepreneurs, investors and leaders who exemplify and initiate this rethinking. This can only succeed if the personal driver behind these decisions is no longer money, status and power preservation, but genuine visionary design.
In view of the global political, social and entrepreneurial challenges, it is common sense that one hero or heroine alone is not enough. The heroic in all of us wants to be awakened and nurtured in order to
- to be fearless and courageous in facing challenges big and small
- to perform unusual deeds,
- To be a role model through our behaviour and to carry others along with us.
- to make a socially meaningful contribution in their own personal area
In order to let the heroic in us grow and use it for the good of all, it is necessary to Overcome narcissistic defence mechanisms. Hans-Joachim Maaz writes in his book "Die narzistische Gesellschaft" (C.H. Beck Verlag, 08/2014):
- "We must escape a growth ideology that feeds on narcissistically unsatisfied needs. To do this, we need to understand prosperity and growth not primarily in material terms, but in terms of the quality and development of our social relationships.
- We must leave a meritocracy that serves to compensate for mental deficits. To do this, we must judge performance not primarily in terms of monetary and market values, but in terms of individual possibilities as well as social and ecological necessities. We must learn to accept natural limitations."
Therefore: We need heroes - more than ever! Let them grow within us. The social and economic benefits will come.
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