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Leadership for the Sake of Heaven

I've recently started using a new phrase to describe the kind of leadership to which I aspire and to which I wish to inspire others: leadership for the sake of heaven.

And what is leadership for the sake of heaven? It is a paraphrase of the Talmudic concept, “mahloket le’shem shamayim” – a dispute for the sake of heaven, the goal of which is not to defeat the other, but to strive together with him for the truth. What then is leadership for the sake of heaven? It is leadership that aims not to exert power over the other, but to work together with him or her for the greater good. The Mishna in Ethics of the Fathers (5:17) states that the antithesis of “a dispute for the sake of heaven” is the dispute described in next week’s Torah portion, that of Korach and his followers. Based on this interpretation, the only thing that mattered to Korach was the question of who has more power i.e., Why is Moses in charge and not me? The questions that exercise a leader for the sake of heaven are not “how can I accumulate power?” or “how can I win the rat race to this or that senior position?” bur rather “to what good am I striving and how can I make this vision a reality?” A wise man once said, “It’s all about who.” In the spirit of leadership for the sake of heaven, I would add: “It’s all about who, but it’s not all about you.”

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