What the World Needs Now is Virtuous Leadership
Why Virtuous Leadership?
The answer to this simple question lies in the answer to why in our day we have so great a need of an education in virtue, so great a need of leadership, and why the world needs now more than ever the message of Virtuous Leadership.
Without virtue, there can be no great men or women. Without virtue there can be no great nations.
- Alexis de Tocqueville.
The Virtuous Leadership Institute recognizes the fundamental principle that virtue is not mere conformity to arbitrary expectations or trends, but is the embodiment of real strengths of our common human nature, the capacity for real human flourishing. To acquire the virtues is to participate in God’s own beauty, truth, and goodness. Virtue is the mainstay and sole ensurer of a free and just society. Only the truly virtuous man or woman is most fully free to become who he or she is created to be.
Because for too long we were content to teach a merely passive approach to virtue, and this has degenerated into maintaining the status quo in a void of normlessness. However, in order to bring about true and lasting transformation in society it is not sufficient to become men and women who are merely good. To bring about true and lasting change we must become good men and women who are capable of leading others into greatness and building up the common good.
I once had the privilege of being part of a group of university students addressed by His Imperial and Royal Highness, the late Otto Von Habsburg — son of the last emperor of Austria, and scion of the Holy Roman Emperors. He told us that we need to learn from those who are advancing changes in society that are contrary to the good of humanity — namely, we need to begin showing up and leading the charge if we are to advance the Common Good. This great man stood before us and charged us to take initiative in bringing about societal reform, to labor for the good of humanity by becoming leaders in society. Tremendous atrocities have occurred because otherwise good men and women, have abandoned the leadership of society to others who are not directed by truly humanistic values and a commitment to human flourishing. We must raise up a generation of men and women prepared to re-enter the arena and capable of becoming leaders in the world.
The need in the world, the need in the Church, today as at other times, but today as never before, is of men among men, of men and women who see farther than others, rise higher than others, act more boldly than others. They need not be numerous. They never were numerous. But, while the few, they take with them the multitude and save humanity.
Archbishop John Ireland (19th c.)
Why the Virtuous Leadership Institute?
Because there are many who talk about virtue and character, but we alone teach Virtuous Leadership. It is our one mission and our unique contribution to humanity: “to spread through the entire world a concept of leadership that corresponds to the most authentic demands of human nature and the noblest aspirations of the human heart… to inflame hearts, to inspire men and women to the creation of a new generation of leaders called to transform life, culture and business, and thus lay the foundations for a new civilization.” (Havard, 2016).
We alone employ a systematic and comprehensive approach to actually teaching and cultivating virtuous leadership. I can say this with confidence because I have spent the last ten years researching virtue and human formation, and having seen nothing else to sufficiently address this, we have developed the groundbreaking work of virtuous leadership development built on the foundations of authentic humanism, and supported by the very best evidence from cognitive and moral psychology in our day.
The Opportunity Placed before Us…
Now imagine the impact of implementing in education - both schools and universities - not only the the vision of Virtuous Leadership, but a practical program actually capable of forming and educating this caliber of future leaders. To some, it might seem hopeless to try to stem the tide of violence and corruption we see in modern society, but we now stand at a decision point in history and are capable of shaping the direction of the source of the stream, the river, of the modern world, and so in less than a generation can significantly redirect its course. Do the math: how many students graduate each year? If we reached even a fraction of them, think of the exponential impact on society over the span of just a few decades, following the same principle as compounding interest. Every passing year is precious. Let us begin now to form the next generation of Virtuous Leaders.
Cameron Thompson is the Executive Vice President and Director of Education at the Virtuous Leadership Institute. You can find out more about Virtuous Leadership by visiting http://www.VirtuousLeadership.org.
To ask a specific question or to learn more, send me an email at Cameron@hvli.org