The Role of Leadership in Government, Business and NGO Performance
Edited by Kees Zoeteman
Chapter 5: Leadership and Sustainability Attitudes in Personal Life
5. Leadership and sustainability attitudes in personal life Kees Zoeteman SUMMARY Sustainable development is the result of conscious decisions and actions of individual people. Examples of the five sustainability attitudes and their consequences can be found in old historical documents, such as Lao Tse’s Tao Te Ching, and in other cultural expressions, including movies. The impact of attitudes and the difficulty in changing an attitude is best illustrated in one’s personal life. In this chapter an assessment format is presented and the variations in outcome are discussed. Conditions for an upward or downward shift in collective attitudes are illustrated, based on some historical events. The role of leadership in moving sustainability attitudes upward is discussed. INTRODUCTION Although the term ‘sustainability attitude’, as defined in Chapter 4, is new, the principle of different attitudes of leaders and the impact on their social environment has been noticed in all times and is reflected in classical documents such as Lao Tse’s Tao Te Ching and Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, as will be discussed later. The sustainability attitudes can best be perceived by relating them to one’s own personal life, and can be recognized in nearly all aspects of life. Some examples will be discussed to illustrate this – and they can be endlessly expanded. These examples are given to show how in any given situation response options based on the five attitude levels can be designed. By doing so these options can make one aware of alternatives and the moral codes they are...
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