Why is the change towards sustainability happening so slowly in many companies and initiatives?
Could it be linked to leadership and the way leadership affects initiatives?
Every change in an organization results from the choices made by dedicated people. Leaders are therefore co-creators of an interconnected reality.
- Leaders need to respond to a call for a sustainable world – as well as to questions about human dignity, inclusiveness, and a fairer distribution of wealth
- Leaders mirror their organization, while, at the same time, holding the potential to impact the way an orginisation view itself.
- Leadership based on lived values can change an entire organization as it inspires employees to also operate from their deeper truth and search for meaningful work.
Although there are numerous ways in which leaders can develop their authenticity, humanity and the capacity of their organizations to lead to contribute to sustainability, there is no silver bullet – or step by step process- on how to achieve heightened personal growth.
What then are the ingredients to consciousness leading for sustainability?
- The first step is an attitude of continuous learning through the development of awareness. This awareness can refer to the individual self as much as to systems, interpersonal, organizational or systems dynamics, and also the world as a whole. Awareness helps a leader develop choice and flexibility, notice his or her own relativity, and allows her or him to act in a more purposeful and effective way.
- The second step , following on the first, cultivates a leader’s relationship with herself or himself. Self-knowledge, self-understanding allows leaders to recognize what leads her or him to be and act in a certain way, and understanding one’s own mental patterns is the prerequisite for conscious interaction with others.
- The third step, following on the second, is the cultivation of the leader’s relationship with others. Empathy, trust in others and vulnerability (here seen as the ability to share shortcomings) create an atmosphere of support and this in turn, helps to achieve the collective purpose.
- The fourth step broadens a leader’s vista into a “commitment to something larger than oneself”. A leader realizes that self-actualization is the first step towards contribution to a larger goal and being responsiveness to what the world needs.
- The fifth step is the willingness to expose oneself to checks and balances. Here a leader develops the ability to remain open to feedback and changes of strategy. In today’s complex world, adaptability is not only a survival strategy, but also ensures that any contribution positively impacts the world.
- The sixth step is the capability to follow-through and utilise crisises and obstacles as opportunities to learn. Sustainability, as all evolutionary processes, is a winding road that requires faithfulness to the journey.
As a leader takes the first step, and then the next, and the next, their journey becomes a conscious dance of collective co-creation towards sustainability.
In this way, each leader and collective becomes part of creating a more sustainable, inclusive world.
This blog post looks at the dimension of HUMANITY and WHOLENESS in the Collective Leadership Compass at the level of the individual. For more information on the Art of Leading Collectively, checkout the inside the book and reviews on amazon.com, or get inspired by an onsite course that takes the compass into the daily challenges of navigating complex change.