Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Ethically Motivated Connective Leadership - Case 2

Bhutan - King Jigme Singye Wangchuck
Connective leaders commit themselves to long-term goals, and through their authenticity, encourage their constituents to participate in the execution of these goals. King Jigme Singye Wangchuck shared a vision with his constituents advocating that Gross National Happiness (GNH), instead of GNP, would measure the country’s development progress. He insisted that happiness and well-being of all people is the ultimate goal. The leadership of the king of Bhutan became a model for developing countries.
King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, who succeeded to the throne in 1972, surprised people by announcing that he wanted to give up much of his power as a monarch. Unlike stage two leaders, the king did not cling to his authority. He did not try to control citizens but entrusted them with responsibility and power, with the conviction that they must play an integral role in molding an ideal nation. He began to decentralize the power of the government so that people could participate more in decision-making. The king himself was closely involved in leading a change in Bhutan. When he drafted a constitution, the king studied more than 50 constitutions from other countries, and promoted the discussion of a new constitution in every district. Furthermore, he sent out a copy of the draft constitution to every household in Bhutan, a document that even described steps for the king’s own impeachment. Thus, Wangchuck mobilized citizens and engaged them in implementing a shared vision.
During the process of modernizing Bhutan, Wangchuck acted as an ethical leader with a long-term vision. Despite the fact that Bhutan could attract much foreign interest by logging and selling teakwood, he maintained a policy that the proportion of the tree cover must be kept above 60%. He perceived the vast forest of Bhutan as an important resource and the key to Bhutan becoming an independent and sustainable economy.
Indeed, the king’s actions often seemed unorthodox for his constituents. However, because of his authenticity and ethical actions, the king successfully built trust with the people, and together they achieved a great change in the government, economy, and society of Bhutan.

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