The Evolution of Leadership Consciousness through 2020

How will the evolution of humanity’s consciousness be reflected in leadership practice?  How will the aims of leadership evolve, and what will leadership look like in the new “global” world?

All leadership takes place in the three dimensions of leadership – Time, Space and Being.[1]  As humanity’s capacities evolve over the coming decades, leaders’ perspectives in all of these dimensions will change.

Leadership in Time

Presence in the Now

All leadership involves the journey from a known present along a path to a desired future.  Changes will take place at all three points within this dimension of leadership time.

The “knowing of the present” will deepen as the discoveries of the new science, especially in neurophysiology, neuropsychology and subatomic physics, become increasingly well-known and understood.  These discoveries will illuminate afresh for new generations the ancient truths of the connectedness of all things.

This deepening of connection with the present will coincide with the growing capacity for consciousness in the new generations.  This is evident already, not only in the “indigo children” but also in the changing attitudes of those entering the employment market over recent years – a greater sense of self value, a need to understand the purpose and implications of the work they do, a refusal to follow blindly that which violates their values, less fear of insecurity and a greater drive to put self-actualisation before material wealth (e.g. “lifestyle” before money).

The leader’s awareness of the present moment will go beyond the material facts and instinctive needs that have driven commercial society to this point.  She will connect with deeper purpose and the higher energy, enabling that to transform self, others and the situation – so that the greater harmony can emerge.  She will act in the knowledge that the moment is the point of the true co-creation of reality, the point at which the potential of all that has been is realised in the “flow” of the eternal present.

The Nature of the Path

This deeper connection with the present will continue moment to moment – sensing the impact of each action within the constant shift of circumstance, reaction and response in the closer and further environment. Progress along the path is no longer a process of overcoming “obstacles” in pursuit of a fixed, pre-defined goal, a process of fighting the competing demands of the external world as we impose our will.  Progress becomes an exercise in “harmonic sensing” of the surrounding circumstances and forces, from the people to the events to the environment at the highest level of complexity accessible to the individual.

The essence of the journey becomes the achievement of harmony, finding not so much the path of least resistance, but a constant move along the path of greatest benefit, indicated by the degree of harmonic resonance with all that is connected with each action in each moment.  Of course, this has implications for how “the goal” is defined…

Desired Futures

The desired future is that which, at any moment, is perceived to provide the greater benefit for the population in question in greatest harmony with maximum benefit for the whole[2]. Time future as well as time past is contained in time present.  The deeper the connection with time present, the greater the awareness of the dynamics of the forces at play, the greater the understanding of the effects of an action within that dynamic matrix.  This means that the leader develops an increasing prescience, which enables her to maintain perception of the evolving goal within the shift of flowing events.  It is the purpose of the greater harmony and good, not the achievement of a specific goal that drives her.

The courage of the future leader will be based not in the ability to “face and overcome obstacles”, but in the ability to “live what you believe to be true, knowing that the living of it will change that truth through experience and knowledge”.

Leadership in Space

Self Leadership

To lead others into the future you must first lead yourself.  If you cannot lead yourself, you cannot lead anything – you can react to events, but you cannot shape them – you cannot lead.  As an effective self leader you are able to “keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you”.[3] Self leadership requires the ability to lead in all four of the human faculties – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual:

Physical Leadership is the ability to manage your physical state, to be able to move from a state of potential stress or fear to a state of dynamic relaxation, or “flow”, for optimal performance

Mental Leadership is the ability to remain clear-sighted and rational without losing the ability to connect at the human level for the benefit of the greater good

Emotional Leadership is the ability to acknowledge your emotional reactions, understand their purpose and  integrate them into emotionally intelligent, Adult-to-Adult interactions in all circumstances, rooted in the present without regret for the past or fear for the future

Spiritual Leadership is knowing the purpose of your actions, and how this purpose fulfills your personal sense of meaning and the purpose of those your actions affect, from family to team to “world”

Rooted in their connected present, these abilities will be the accepted core of the leaders of the future.

Leading Others

The leaders of the future will, based on their self leadership in the four faculties, be adept in Emotional Intelligence, the ability to maintain “I’m OK, you’re OK”, Adult-to-Adult interactions, the social psychology of leadership and the authenticity of knowing and living their values with compassion and integrity.  What distinguishes them from many of the leaders of the past will be their purpose – the end that these abilities serve. As discussed earlier, the deep connection of the future leader intrinsically focuses him on the harmonic realisation of the common good, rooted in his perception of the whole.  Until now, this has not been the case.

 In the past, the role of the CEO and senior management team was to ensure continued profit and shareholder value, at the expense of the competition regardless of the long-term consequences. This is now changing as the new consciousness is manifesting in the broader social sphere.  In the commercial sphere, for example, no public company can now survive without their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme.  For some, CSR is an integral part of their corporate purpose and identity.  For others, it is a small inconvenience to which they pay lip-service with a minimal payment or “re-cycling” policy.  Either way, in our current world all CSR activity takes place within the overall ethos of competitive consumption and growth with all its attendant fear and aggression.

As leadership consciousness develops, the “we” for the good of which the leader works, expands to include the broader current community, the world and, eventually, the perceivable universe.  Serving the “larger world” becomes intrinsic to the act of leadership at any level.

Leading in the World

We now have the internet and the growing awareness of the global consciousness the internet’s existence indicates.  The ability to remain restricted in one’s reality and interests is requiring a conscious act of perceptual restriction for more and more of the world’s population.  Strict social and moral dogmatic systems are being exposed to alternatives with predictable defensive, fear based reactions.  Limited belief systems and social codes are crumbling under the impact of unavoidable relativity.

The space opened up by the falling of these walls is terrifying for some, a gift for others. The interconnectedness of all things is increasingly demonstrated in science, spirituality, philosophy and the events of the physical world.   As this is understood by more and more of the population within the growing awareness of the redundancy of a growth economy within a finite environment, the predominant mentality will shift from one of scarcity in abundance to sufficiency within limited physical resources.  This, in turn will reduce competitive fear and aggression, allowing the shift to harmonious, connected leadership to accelerate the evolutionary shift at the global level.

“Leading the world” will then be an intrinsic part of every act of leadership at any other level as the effects of actions at the individual and group levels on the wider context will be perceived and considered.  Serving self and serving the greater good in the world become one.

Leadership Being and the ACT of Leadership

Leaders do things, and enable others to do things.  Most importantly, leaders do and enable other people to do things that have never been done before in circumstances that have never previously existed.  In other words, leaders act, and ACT stands for AWARENESS, CONNECTION and TRANSFORMATION.

The Leader is aware of and connected to himself, to those whom he leads and with the situation he and they find themselves in.  The quality of his awareness and connection determines the level of transformation that can occur – through and for the mutual benefit of all involved. Improving the quality of awareness and connection is itself transformational of the relationships involved.  It also means that the impact of the intentional transformation of the leader is both greater and more harmonious with the wider sphere.

As human consciousness evolves, the quality of a leader’s vision will be measured in the future not by the degree to which it “wins” for themselves and their group, but by its degree and breadth of harmony within the wider sphere – the degree to which it “wins” for the integrated matrix of perceived existence.[4]

Leaders will ACT increasingly in the moment – becoming more completely aware of all that is in all perceivable dimensions, thereby allowing the higher to transform self, others and the situation in harmonious relationship.

Leadership Consciousness

Future leaders will understand that we are all unique manifestations of whatever we think we are a manifestation of. Our purpose is to give of that uniqueness to the whole. We can do this by living what we believe to be true, knowing that the living of it will change that truth as we go. To live what we believe to be true requires the continual recognition and removal of self-orientated, unnecessary, diminishing fears of the body and socially-created personality that block growth – i.e. the exploration of our truth. This is continual Awareness and Connection leading to continual, evolutionary Transformation.

By removing the fears of the ego/personality as we ACT, we increasingly harmonise ourselves with the whole through the unique entity of our being. As our “note” rings more true, we find our true harmonic and place within the whole. This allows the energy of the absolute/the universe/the whole to work through us. From this emerges the co-creation of our particular point within the universe. This, in concert with others similarly “allowing” the same Flow, allows the harmonious universe (known throughout the ages as “God’s Will”) to unfold.

The levels of conscious awareness, connection and transformation discussed here cannot be “trained”, or learned in a systematic fashion.  Our minds and our hearts can respond powerfully to the vision of such a state; our higher selves might resonate with the deep understanding that such an integrated existence is, somehow, our heritage.  The growth of the capability to live from such a level is a process of evolutionary development that, on the larger scale, transcends an individual lifetime, apart from the few essential individuals in each age that are “born” with the capacity.  Its timescale is generational.  The contribution of each individual – each cell within the human organism – is to choose whether to work to be a part of that evolutionary process or not and, if the choice is “yes”, to work diligently to increase their capacity to be an harmonious part of the whole with integrity and without the self-delusion of vain self-aggrandisement.  This is, increasingly, the essence of self leadership.

The personal aim of the integrated, connected leader is not to be the best, the first, the most valuable: it is not recognition or praise or the leaving of a legacy; it is not to be the most harmonious, the most aware and connected, or the most humble, contributing servant.  These are facets of the isolated, self-referencing ego.  The new leader is deeply rooted in her own sense of purpose, which is deeply integrated in the connections with the whole and focused on the greater good.  The fears of self concern are dissolved in the aim of growing the awareness of the role one might play to serve the harmonious development of the whole. Through experience, trial and error, the boundaries of the lower ego self will be absorbed in the growing, harmonious presence of the flowing higher self within the greater unity.  Our highest aim can be to play our true role in this never-ending journey for the benefit of our children’s children and the generations of the universe to come.

[1]  “An Introduction to 3-Dimensional Leadership”, Linacre and Cann, 2011.  The author would like to acknowledge the role of Nigel Linacre, co-founder of Extraordinary Leadership, in the development of these ideas.

[2]  A recent example of this may be the work undertaken by Nelson Mandela immediately after his election in South Africa to ensure that the whole country, including the ANC, supported the national “Springbock” rugby team – the despised, ultimate symbol of white supremacy – at the 1995 Rugby World Cup just two years after the fall of apartheid (the focus of ”Invictus”, the 2009 biopic directed by Clint Eastwood.

[3]  Rudyard Kipling, “If”.

[4]  Polly Higgins, the environmental lawyer, has pointed out that the legal basis for this change of perception exists in the transition form the Property Law that predominates today to Trusteeship Law – see www.pollyhiggins.com

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