In Cahoots Session – Ethical Leadership

How do we truly connect more deeply and meaningfully with others and make value-based decisions? Find out more from our conversation with Dr Marc Stears.

Dr Marc Stears

Barbara Harvey

Professor Marc Stears’ claims the vaccine for unethical behaviour is “connection”. Societies are becoming more polarised, and the opportunities to be exposed to those different from ourselves are diminishing. In this conversation, Marc shares his thoughts on the power of connection and the tenets of ethical leadership.

In this article, Cahoot Learning will offer some of these powerful insights from the “In Cahoots” session with Profesor Marc Stears.

Connecting with the lives of others

Professor Marc started the session with an insight that he gathered over the years: that people generally do not feel that they can fully be themselves at work.

Marc believes senior leaders can help their people feel more authentic at work by sharing stories about themselves, their values and conversations.

Having random incidental conversations

One of the challenges Marc presented from our new ways of working and living is the diminishing opportunities to connect with people different from us. It’s so easy now to only have friendships and contact with people we already know.

Marc shared that even at the school drop off he is inclined to speak to the same families.  But the danger of living in our bubbles is that we don’t experience the benefits of connecting with different people. He urged the group to seek opportunities to have incidental conversations with others.

Focusing on “I-You”

Marc shared a beautiful approach to connecting with others called the “I-You” connection based on the teachings of philosopher Martin Buber.

Marc shared “Most of the time when we interact with each other, it’s as if we are interacting with an object or a machine. For example, when attending a team meeting, we make sure that everyone knows their function and what part of the job they are meant to be concentrating on. Although this kind of interaction is fine, what we desperately need as human beings are interactions with others in a humane way.”

Having conversations with a difference

When interacting with other people, disagreements may occur due to differences in perspective and values. However, being ethical is about overcoming these differences and remaining respectful towards each other.

Marc stated that “Ethics is all about having strong values towards a specific matter, but it shouldn’t be a reason to not interact with somebody that has a different value from yourself. My recommendation is not to look at vague or abstract matters, but take a closer look towards the aspects of everyday life which shows that we live together in the same world”.

From having conversations with a difference, people can still have in-depth discussions with multitudes of people and be exposed to their knowledge, while remaining respectful towards one another.

In Conclusion

By interacting with people of different levels and truly connecting with others on a human level, people make value-based decisions and become ethical leaders. 

If you are keen on watching Dr Marc Stears’ session, we have a recording accessible for you here.

Learn more about leadership and have resilience at work through Cahoot Learning. We implement a cohort-based learning model throughout our platform to create a collaborative learning experience for you and your peers.

About the Storyteller

Dr Marc Stears

Marc Stears is the Director of the Sydney Policy Lab. Before arriving in Sydney in 2018, Marc had been Professor of Political Theory at the University of Oxford and Chief Executive of the New Economics Foundation at one of the UK’s largest think tanks. His work often focused on deepening partnerships with community groups who are often overlooked in the policy process.

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