Connecting ‘up and out’
Discussions around leadership are many and varied but what is clear within that is that we are in a new defining era for leadership. In 10 or 20 years’ time when the new young managers are coming through their academic study or leadership programmes and reflecting on the various ‘styles’ of leadership, I have no doubt that a new era will have been established in this time we are living in right now.
I have written on many of those ‘new’ aspects of leadership including for example, the need for greater ‘sensing’, using our inner or higher self to assess and navigate complex situations and greater heart or love within the workplace (more on that next time). One thing that I feel more can be said about is the need for leaders to look (and connect) up and out.
By that I mean going beyond the confines of their own function, Directorate and even organisation in the way they consider the world. To connect with the issues within their communities, wider stakeholders and even national or global issues in a way that properly touches their thought processes, creativity, decision making and ways of being.
For example, having evocative, deeply connected and powerful visions or purpose statements is a prerequisite for the new era of work. And whilst getting to that point is a stretch for many organisations it’s still not enough. It’s becoming really important that leaders are able to join the dots of their own organisational vision and purpose with the wider themes affecting humanity and the planet and to really sense the underlying force that requires each and every organisation, and within that each and every leader, to embrace their little bit of responsibility for the continuing growth of civilisation.
In the Guardian’s sustainability newsletter there are dozens of example of organisations and individuals seeking new ways of living on this planet harmlessly whilst still doing good business – from reduced packaging for consumer goods to farmers moving from traditional dairy farming to the production of oat based milk to reduce carbon emissions.
So, I think ‘connecting up and out’ will grow larger on the list of ‘new leadership’ capabilities which is great for our sustainable future together.