We live in a VUCA world, with disruptive security trends, populist leaders blossoming, cultural polarization, economic disorder and a lack of trust by citizens and stakeholders for the leaders of our world. The latter is partially due to the fact that what leaders say and the results of what they do, diverge. Experts and different stakeholders agree that we are living what could be a pivotal moment in the world’s history, again. The ILA panel entitled “Leadership for the common good: from rhetoric to action” included senior results-oriented European and American representatives, women and men, working in leadership fields at the nexus of practice and scholarship for many years.

Mike Hardy, founding Director of the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations at Coventry University and President of the International Leadership Association emphasized how authentic leadership is under threat. In a world that is changing, and changing at an accelerating rate, leadership is challenged. Leadership styles must adapt or be at risk of failing. From his research, Mike Hardy defines the new context in 6 dimensions.  He argues that today authenticity must include ‘head and heart’ –and compassion because of constant change (the work of Karl Popper) and so-called gritty realities (Karen Armstrong). Both have an impact on ordinary people. He concludes by raising a clarion call for empathetic and non-dominating leadership in this age of elites and the many apparently left behind by change and its speed.

Emilio Iodice is a best-selling author, Diplomat and Director at Loyola University, and was also a senior advisor to seven US presidents. He brought an interesting perspective showing that leading by example is the best way to teach and learn. He gave examples of authentic and fearless leaders who, with their uniqueness and courage, changed the world for the better: Malala Yousafzai, Eleanor Roosevelt, Sheryl Sandberg, Pope Francis and more.

The two panel speakers were in the company of Claudia de Castro Caldeirinha, Senior Leadership Advisor, Author and Director of RedScope Consulting, Elzbieta Jablonska, chair of Public Leadership MIG International Leadership Association and founder of Ardito Consulting. These leading academics and practitioners from both sides of the Atlantic explored and connected global trends with their own leadership knowledge and their experience working with leaders all over the globe, from the US, to Europe and the Middle East, from Bhutan to East Timor. During the panel, speakers created a space of interactive exchange with participants and shared best practice, academic insights and lessons learned on leadership solutions that deliver progress, peace, and prosperity. They also shared highlights of their experience of what inhibits and obstructs positive leadership change.