Monica Sharma: ‘Courageous, principled and ethical decisions build good leadership’ 

In the beginning of January, the Foundation organised a workshop on UN Leadership with Dr Monica Sharma as key-note speaker. Read more about the workshop here.

Leadership transformation as a critical element in building a renewed and robust United Nations (UN) was one of the key issues lifted by Dr Monica Sharma, award winning author of ‘Radical Transformational Leadership – Strategic Action for Change Agents’ during a workshop on UN Leadership at the Foundation recently. Representatives from UN Women, UNHCR Sweden, the Swedish International Development Agency, Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and civil society and Foundation staff were in attendance. 

Monica Sharma previously served as the UN Director of Leadership and capacity Development from 1988 to 2010. Her work with ‘whole systems transformation’ has reached multi-partnership teams for policy formulation, strategic direction, and program development in 60 countries.

Participants learnt about transformational leadership examples from South Asia, South America, Africa and Europe. She challenged all to think about scaling up development interventions and extend the reach to change the global development systems. 

‘Leadership’ and ‘human rights’ emerged as important topics. One participant noted… ‘the world can pinpoint the time when the focus on inclusive human rights approaches slipped away to primarily lean towards political rights only’. There is a need to return to the core of human rights with the broader focus on social, cultural and economic rights’.

From left to right: Monica Sharma, Per Knutsson, Programme Director/Deputy Director and Edit Morin-Kovacs, Programme Manager at the Foundation.


Monica Sharma also shared tools in her ‘Conscious Full-Spectrum Response Model’, an innovative approach to simultaneously solve problems, shifts systems and norms, and create new patterns, drawing upon individual inner capacities, which also highlights strategies rooted in principles of equity and sustainability.

Another participant reminded the group that there should be a renewed focus on using all the existing UN instruments such as the Convention of the Rights of The Child, ratified by most UN Member States. Jakob Trollbäck, founder of the strategy and communication group New Division, highlighted the importance of the Convention of Biological Diversity, as the biosphere is the foundation of all life.

At the end of the workshop, Monica Sharma described her key take away from the session as following:

‘We recognised the imperatives of ethical leadership across all sectors and organisations and that we need to publicly support those who take the risk and make courageous, principled, ethical decisions in the midst of controversy for the wellbeing of people and planet’.