Better Leadership, Positive Peace and More Positive Cultures

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This blog is provided by Mike Hardy, Board Chair of the International Leadership Association and Professor at Coventry University, Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations.  It is a companion to his interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled Better Leadership to Promote the Positives in Peace and Culture that aired on Tuesday, October 27th, 2020.


Of all the consequences of effective and ethical leadership, a positive impact on peace and peacefulness for us all is the one that matters to me most. The quest for better leadership is a continuing one, and the needs and urgencies for positive impact grow with intensity each year.

As Board Chair of the International Leadership Association I have watched, this year, with humility and astonishment how teams of scholars, business leaders, practitioners and (some) policy makers have strained sinews to elaborate and articulate how those with influence can use it better, and how those with reach can reach more and further.

At the close of the ILA’s Ottawa Global Conference in 2019 I observed how this quest for improvement must be a movement and not a moment. This continuing work needs to be distracted by moments but never stopped by events. We could not have foreseen the unprecedented events of 2020, the challenges for communities and policy-makers alike. But we must remain true to our commitment that better leadership can push us all towards a better world. And we must not be too worried about precise and constraining definitions; better leadership must not just be about doing the right things…but it must also embrace doing things in the right way –a commitment to ethics as well as effectiveness. In the same way a better world must include conditions more likely to deliver both a positive peace and more positive cultures.

A positive peace is far more than the mere absence of violence and conflict. It is a way of being, a set of attitudes, institutions and structures that create and sustain peacefulness in and between communities and societies. Like bad leadership it is often much easier to point out the negatives, the absence of peace. Similarly, positive culture is more than a description of characteristics and identities. It is a set of values, behaviours and attributes that enable and promote human flourishing, reinforce collaborative compassion and peaceful co-existence. We are still struggling to secure both. Both are critical factors for human flourishing –with peace and in peaceful times we can begin to address many of the sources of human insecurity- but often we remain more aware of its absence than its existence. And a positive culture is also elusive –a culture that promotes civic awareness, and participation, social equity and the well-being of a community, hence peacefulness for families and neighbourhoods, can often be more difficult to observe than a malevolent culture that strengthens some groups to initiate and perpetuate exclusion and at times violent conflict.

The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare our vulnerabilities, divisions, falsehoods and brutal inequalities. Since this global human crisis took its toll on all of us – the forces of division and hate too have been placing the lives of vulnerable communities including religious and ethnic minorities, migrants, women, children and youth, in peril. Even old people and those with disabilities have not been spared. It is especially disheartening to witness a surge in hate speech, xenophobia, racism and many forms of discrimination. These deep fissures in the fabric of our societies weakens our resolve for peace and question what it is about our culture that creates so much room for insecurity.

So, our agenda for better leadership is more vital than ever as a part of a change agenda that promotes the positives in both peace and culture. I have been drawn to a powerful thought from this moment for our movement; a thought captured in a big question:  When this is all over –how do we want the world to be different?

As we battle the COVID-19 pandemic, and the many associated challenges of rising job-losses, deepening economic inequalities, the alarming increase in hate crimes across the world, we need to look beyond the moment and look to how culture and its development can help create a better world of tomorrow.   We need to face up to the real and gloomy conclusion that the distrust and fractured relationships in our neighbourhoods that feel so current in our culture have a common core: a real and hostile divide between people who are regarded as different; a dehumanisation of the “other”.  We seem to have a culture that looks to hold someone else responsible for the moment in which we find ourselves. Despite the crises that we face, we are nowhere near being able to answer this question about how we want the world to be. We know where we do not want to go and be: our social capital –relationships and networks in our communities that encourage calm and harmony, must help rebuild the confidence that the generations that follow will have more not fewer opportunities. And we must restore the beliefs that we once had by default that our created health, education and even financial systems, cherished institutions and welfare state are more than illusions. We must actively banish the dark forces than breed exclusion and divide.

Positive peace and positive cultures matter: a more equal, inclusive culture supports a safer, kinder and more prosperous society. Specific policies to meet the urgent needs of less advantaged groups can deliver a fairer world and lay the foundations for economic recovery and build resilience to future crises.

This is a moment when the convergence of energies towards better leadership and those towards positive peace can create provoke some positive change for the lives of people worldwide. This is not a small agenda -and it is quite a backdrop for our work in growing knowledge and understanding of leadership for a better world. A future world with positive peace and positive culture will help us to re-emphasise our belief in the importance of hope, and it will be through hope we can see evidence of a better future. But even hope will not bring the different world we wish for… that needs direct actions and a new direction and these require more effective and strongly ethical leadership.

Better leadership has two important roles to play: it must help us all to make sense of the turbulences and uncertainties, help shine a clarifying light on our challenges, and it must help us manage the changes that we need and that are taking place.

No small job then! And a compelling reason to make sure that you attend the ILA’s 2020 Global Conference –“Leading at the Edge”

Leading at the Edge
22nd Annual Global Conference
5-8 November 2020 | A Live Online Virtual Event


To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify and iHeartRADIO. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.


About the Author

Professor Mike Hardy is the Founding Director of the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations at Coventry University, in the UK. After a distinguished career, he returned to the academic world in 2011 as Professor of Intercultural Relations at Coventry University. Mike is active with UNESCO and the UN Alliance of Civilizations; he is currently lead advisor to the World Forum for Intercultural Dialogue in Baku, the World Peace Forum in Indonesia and directs the RISING Global Peace Forum at Coventry. Professor Hardy has been twice honoured, awarded the Order of the British Empire in 2001 for his peace-building work in the Middle East, and appointed a Companion of Honour of St Michael and St George in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, in June 2010, for his work internationally in Intercultural Dialogue. Mike is a trustee of The Faith and Belief Forum the leading interfaith charity in the UK and Board Chair of the US-based International Leadership Association.


New Tools and Resources for Leading Transformation Now Available

Leading Organizational Transformation

Wondering what your first step might be in enhancing your capacity to lead complex transformation? Wondering how to help someone on your leadership team build some key skills so they can be more effectively involved in key change? As part of our commitment to make the most current and effective resources available to you, we recently launched a new free on-line Leading Organization Transformation s Assessment and announced a free webinar – 7 Steps to Lead Organizational Transformation in conjunction with the Madinah Institute.

The Assessment: Leading change starts with leadership and yet in many organizations the process of leading change often omits the idea that transforming leaders is part of the overall transformation process. The assessment looks at both Innovative Leadership and your ability to potentially transform your organization. We look primarily at how you as a leader can align yourself and the organization and make changes in yourself, your organization’s culture and your organization’s systems concurrently to ensure sustainable change. During a significant transformation you will need to lead using the following approaches:

  • Integrated Leadership that aligns all key dimensions: Individual, culture, action and systems;
  • Strategic Leadership that inspires individual goals and the organization’s visions and cultures;
  • Tactical Leadership that influences an individual’s actions and the organization’s systems and processes.

For leaders to consistently deliver results, you must deliberately attend to changing yourself and your organization concurrently. The assessment gives you a tool to evaluate your competence against each of the seven steps in the transformation process. You can then use the assessment results to determine where to focus your developmental efforts and also understand your strengths and risks.

The Webinar: With the current rate of change organizations face, the ability to successfully lead complex change is becoming a core competency for leaders at many levels. There are many classes on overall leadership but few directed at leaders helping them understand the key steps to successfully lead organizational transformation and concurrently define what they themselves need to learn to model the behaviors necessary for the changing organization. This presentation provides a flexible framework you can apply to leading a broad range of changes. During this webinar we will explore:

  • Introduction to Innovative Leadership
  • 7 Steps to Lead Organizational Transformation
  • Define your next steps in building your ability to lead transformation

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.


Innovative Leadership Institute to be Featured on Net Worth TV

Metcal & Associates Photo shoot for Net WorthMetcalf & Associates will be featured in an upcoming segment on “Optimizing Productivity and Profitability through Effective Training and Education” as part of the show’s Today in Business series. Filming completed on June 26. We expect it to air in August.

The five-minute Net Worth television segment aims to educate viewers on the valuable role that management consulting and coaching firms like Metcalf & Associates play in supporting businesses. The segment highlights Metcalf & Associates’ innovative strategies and approaches, and features its client, the Columbus Regional Airport Authority.

Net Worth is a television series that takes viewers around the globe following interesting business, healthcare, and financial stories. Hosted by Terry Bradshaw, the program shares first-hand insights from business owners, entrepreneurs and experts in a variety of industries. Net Worth airs nationally and regionally on many popular television networks.

Integral Theory Conference – Offering a Friends Discount Until May 15

Integral Theory ConferenceMetcalf & Associates, Inc., is proudly sponsoring the third biennial Integral Theory conference, the world’s premier academic conference devoted to the field of Integral Theory and its application in both academic and professional contexts. Maureen Metcalf will be a featured panelist. The three-day conference from July 18 through July 21 will be held in San Francisco.

With over 100 presentations, the theme of the conference is “Connecting the Integral Kosmopolitan.” Dictionaries define a cosmopolitan person as one who holds a view that is “worldwide rather than limited or provincial in scope or bearing.” The Integral Kosmopolitan has this expansive understanding of the integral field—one that sees “integral” as a broad and diverse tradition comprising multiple authors, lineages, and influences. The goal of ITC 2013 is to bring together Integral Kosmopolitans to connect and engage with one another, so that they may continue to promote integral as a burgeoning academic discipline. The conference will offer students of Integral Theory, graduate students, and practitioners access to the world’s leaders in the field.

Save up to $60; offer expires May 15 – private link to register.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

We hope to see you at the conference!

Capital City Organization Development Network – Innovative Leadership

Title: Capital City Organization Development Network – Innovative Leadership
Link out: 
Description: Learn about innovative leadership and identify your own strengths and opportunities.
Start Time: 18:00
Date: 2012-01-18
End Time: 19:30

Central Ohio ASTD 2011 Conference and Expo

Title: Central Ohio ASTD 2011 Conference and Expo
Location: COSI
Link out: 
Description: Leadership Development, Team Effectiveness and Organizational Transformation in Monthly Installments
Start Time: 8:00
Date: 2011-10-25
End Time: 16:00

Innovative Leadership Fieldbook Website Available

Innovative Leadership Fieldbook is a leading text for managers, executives and individual contributors providing a combination of well-researched theory with practical business case studies. Authors Maureen Metcalf and Mark Palmer define leadership from a thoughtful, new perspective and provide six-step process for developing strong leadership qualities.

Book expected on Amazon and Barnes and Noble October 15, 2011. 

“Leadership needs innovation the way innovation demands leadership, and by combining them you can improve your capacity to deliver results,” as explained in this book.

An innovative leader is defined as someone who consistently delivers results using the following:

  • Strategic leadership that inspires individual goals and organizations vision and cultures;
  • Tactical leadership that influences an individual’s actions and the organizations systems.
  • Holistic Leadership that aligns all key dimensions:  Individual, culture, action and systems.

This book, divided into twelve chapters, skillfully weaves the journeys of two executive leaders on their paths of developing innovative leadership qualities and implementing change in their organizations. Both leaders encounter their own unique challenges, organizational cultures and outcomes which provide invaluable insight into developing innovative leaders.

Selected Praise from our readers:

  • A practical guide using comprehensive assessments and practices that develop a balanced Integral leadership approach critical for these fast ever-changing times –  Jim Grote, Founder, Donatos and the Grote Companies
  •  This Fieldbook takes an insightful journey through the five stages of innovative leadership development—with a fresh perspective. Leaders will find a comprehensive set of tools to help them both personally develop and also to coach their employees. The insight has helped me dramatically improve productivity and effectiveness among the leaders working for me. – Andrew Manzer, President and CEO at Schuyler Hospital
  • The Innovative Leadership Fieldbook offers a fresh perspective and thoughtful approach on leadership that helps leaders align their actions with the organizational culture and systems.  This alignment is critical in successfully transforming organizations and implementing sustainable change in a complex environment. – Michael Bill, Executive in Residence, The Fisher College of Business, The Ohio State University
  • As the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook so artfully points out, ‘true leaders are both born and made—our leadership skills evolve as we grow’.  Had I had insights from this book earlier in my career, including my first CEO role, my leadership development would have been significantly accelerated, helping me better navigate new challenges.  Nevertheless, I’m happy to have it now!  – Mike Sayre, President and  COO at

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

Mid American Association of State Transportation Officials Resilience Speaker

Title: Mid American Association of State Transportation Officials
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Link out: Click here
Description: Lunch Speaker: Resilience – Increasing Leadership Capacity for High Performance
Start Time: 12:45
Date: 2011-07-20
End Time: 13:30