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Leadership and Apple Trees

We need you, yes you, the one reading this article, what we need you for you might be wondering. Not for your money, not your time, not your blood, sweat and tears. We need you for your Leadership, We want more of you in this world and I know you have the potential to Lead.


Leadership and Apple Trees by Hatem Alabki
Leadership and Apple Trees by Hatem Alabki

With all the complexity that is growing in the world from globalization, environmental challenges, the rising threats of Artificial intelligence and regional conflict there never been a time which we need, at every level of society, Conscious Leadership than today.

Although we are so in need of having quality leaders finding them is like finding water in the middle of the Sahara desert. Where are the visionaries, the walkers of there talks, the conflict resolvers, the team fosterers, the ones with integrity and the one whom balance Relationship and Task and the ones who are wise enough to balance acceptance & judgment? The good news is although quality leadership is rare the potential to unleash it is exponential. Current thought leaders and leadership experts agree that everyone has the capacity to lead however not everyone chooses to use or develop their Leadership muscle. As Simon Senik’s once beautifully said it our capacity to Lead is like the Capacity of a healthy woman to bear a child, every woman is able to do it but not every woman chooses to.


So the question is how to create a fertile environment for people to grow their capacity for Leadership?


Let me share with you my favorite word to describe a great leader. It's not strong Leaders, visionary Leader, purposeful Leader, which are all great, its Selfless Leader. Cause selfless emphasizes two things, first that the person's actions are coming from a place of contribution to others and wouldn’t we want to have Leaders who the mean and the end of their efforts is contribution, and second the word selfless emphasizes that the Leader already moved beyond the self and the journey from a place of self to no self is the path of Great Leadership.


Now let me introduce you to my favorite teacher of Selfless Leadership “Apple Trees” The apple tree is the most selfless Leader I have met. It gives us a perfected fruit asking nothing in return from us. However for the tree to be fruitful it had to go through a development and growth process, and a big part of its development process happened underneath the visible ground. If that development process was hindered by lack of sunlight, lack of water or too much human injected hormones its fruits might not blossom or if they would they would be deformed. Similarly, humans go through development physically and Psychologically, but for one reason or the other, blame it on the way our parents raised us, the expectation of society, the systems we have built, many people do not develop the psychological foundation to reach to a level of selfless leadership.


When organizations are not happy with the fruits/results received they try to change the seen behavior. Behavioral change can bring some benefits but where they need to be looking is underneath, they need to be looking underground.


If You look at a tree what we only see is in our eyes is the trunk, branches and the leaves, but there is an unseen world underground of tangled roots that grow even longer than the branches and while all that we see in humans is the behavior we really need to be looking at the root of the matter to ensure the psychological foundation needed. For perfect fruits to develop we need to ensure that our roots are deep and strong like the ones of an apple tree.

What would be possible if our organizations and communities are a space to not only develop our career and expertise but also a space to develop our psychological development and leadership capacity towards selfless leadership?



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