Martin Luther King, Jr., American clergyman, activist, and prominent leader in the African-American civil rights movement once said:
“In a real sense all life is inter-related. All persons are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the inter-related structure of reality.”
Our interconnectedness or oneness with each other and universal spirit has been taught for thousands of years in many spiritual, mystical, and native belief systems. The 17th century English metaphysical poet John Donne’s line “no man is an island, entire of itself…” has become a truism. The 20th century Trappist monk and spiritual writer Thomas Merton wrote a book, Joan Baez performed a song, and a 1962 movie based on WWII hero George Ray Tweed were all titled “No Man is an Island.”
The Internet is a powerful manifestation of our connectedness. In an incredibly short time, it has dramatically altered, interconnected, and affected our economies, social networks, healthcare, entertainment, learning definitions and methods, scientific understanding … Globalized trade, international finance, immigration, and environmental issues like global warming also starkly illustrate what an interdependent and global village we’ve truly become.
Modern research on social intelligence — a key component of emotional intelligence — is further showing the effects of our interconnections. In Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships, Emotional Intelligence guru Daniel Goleman explores how “our reaction to others, and theirs to us, have a far-reaching biological impact, sending out cascades of hormone that regulate everything from our hearts to our immune systems, making good relationships act like vitamins — and bad relationships like poisons. We can ‘catch’ other people’s emotions the way we catch a cold.”
Tomorrow we publish our August blogs in the September issue of The Leader Letter. This issue has examples of interconnectedness rippling across teams, organizations, and society. Through reflection and refocus, building strengths, fostering passion and purpose, supportive coaching and development, or speed and agility, leaders help their key stakeholders “catch” positive emotions and behaviors.
May you find a few approaches to help you become a highly contagious leader.