Eco Leadership, Evolutionary Leadership, Conscious Leadership.
Each is a model of leadership attempting to grasp an embryonic view of leadership, born of the needs of our times.
Eco Leadership, a term coined by Simon Western, identifies leadership attuned to the networked, interdependent global society we find ourselves in. Western summarizes Eco-Leadership as “about connectivity, interdependence and sustainability underpinned by an ethical, socially responsible stance”.
The term Evolutionary Leadership is showing up in a number of places and embraces the concept that we are evolving to a new standard of consciousness, awareness and responsibility, calling for an evolved form of leadership.
Conscious Leadership is another term used by a number of practitioners. John Renesch, who claims to have coined the term, describes Conscious Leadership as emanating from a consciousness based on the assumption that we are all connected and devoted to creating a sustainable world that is life-affirming.
These terms describe an emergent perspective, fundamentally different from traditional views of leadership. This perspective asserts:
Leadership is attuned to the context. The context is one’s immediate organization/community/natural environment embedded in a global dynamic, evolving system, interdependent with other subsystems. To be successful in this context controlling, prescribing or defining is less of a modus operendi. In a complex world of independent networked individuals, change is influenced, rather than controlled.
Leadership requires self development. A certain personal maturity is required to distinguish between self, other and personal projections. Ethical maturity is required to embrace a concern for the future of humanity and life.
Leadership involves ethical awareness. There is no such thing as “ethically neutral”. This is just a ploy to convince ourselves that we are not behaving unethically when we condone or support status quo actions that we know are actually wrong. Ethical awareness, requires taking a broad view of the impact of action, to include stakeholders who may be powerless or silent.
Leadership can come from anywhere. In order to truly shift our circumstances, anyone with the vision and courage to stand for what they see is needed in our times can play a leadership role.
What is different now? Why do we need a new vision of leadership?
The answer is that we are living in an age fundamentally different from what humans have experienced in the past. Human activities have profoundly altered the earth. We are now driving the spaceship, so we had better grow up and take the wheel.