Life Is Collective Leadership

February 11, 2018

The night Mom died I received an unexpected invitation from a colleague, John Renesch the founder of FutureShapers, to join the Conscious Leadership Congress that he is convening this week in California. About a month ago it became clear that I am not “supposed” to participate. Although disappointed, I cancelled my trip.

Here are some reflections on Conscious Leadership that I thought I’d share…

The notion that only some of us are “leaders” is based in the patriarchal power paradigm of wealth, status and control. Conscious Leadership is the emergence of Collective Leadership, that we are ALL Leaders. It is the active awareness of our unity. It is the realization that I Am You, You Are Me. In Life, ALL is One, interdependent, interconnected, interwoven.

This seeing ourselves in all others is empathy which is not some “feel good” or “do good” emotion. Empathy is the experience of our Unity with others and Life, our connection that is literally hardwired within our brain physiology in our mirror neurons. Conscious Leaders enact this Unity Consciousness of Collective Leadership.

Leadership is about the deeper meaning of collaboration that starts with a blank page. It is not about gluing together existing egos and ideas. It’s about allowing the emergence of ideas and actions that didn’t exist before everyone entered the room. It is about letting go of outcomes: The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Unity Consciousness does not mean the echo chamber of groupthink. It is the wisdom, humility and gratitude that we are all in this Life together and that EVERYONE offers something unique that complements everyone else without competition. Wherever two or more are gathered…

Contrast this with the patriarchal power paradigm of separation and status with focus on preconceived agendas, outcomes, results, goals (yes, including profits) which suppress and limit possibilities and potential. We immaturely abdicate our responsibility and accountability for Leading our Life, giving our power to others over us to “fix” things for us as we follow along in allegiance to labels and ideologies. The watch out for initiatives/movements such as Conscious Capitalism, Conscious Business, etc., is to be aware of this and not create another form of this power and profit-motive paradigm.

Conscious Leadership allows What Is to Be: Emergence of co-creative compassionate action. An example is Bill Drayton’s social entrepreneurship of “cognitive empathy-based living for the good of all” that David Brooks recently described in the New York Times, Everyone a Change Maker. Our collective quality of life is dependent on a level playing field of food, shelter, health care, and education that ensures that no one is left behind in their opportunities for equality and equity, shared power and justice, and dignity and well-being.

We Are One in Truth in the Unity of Spirit. We Are Unique in our Sovereignty of the Diversity of Souls. We have Freedom of Choice. Spirit-Soul-Creator is the fullness of our humanity. Life is indivisible. We violate the prime Law of One, the Law of Love every time we label ourselves and others and build concepts, ideologies and agendas around these labels that separate us. We diminish our Life experience and demean our humanity. Established labels and ideologies can only recreate the past not call forth and midwife our best future of Love in Action.

Conscious Leadership focuses on process that fulfills our innate human needs: Connection and contribution (Spirit), purpose and meaning (Soul), self-determination and choice (Creator), and growth and self-actualization (Integrated Wholeness). It is the process of facilitating individual wholeness and so collective wholeness: If even one person’s contribution, purpose, choice, and growth are missing, our actions and outcomes are incomplete and unsustainable. In addition, Conscious Leaders utilize social-economic-political justice as a process not as an outcome, the means BEING the end.

Morality, ethics, integrity, and justice are the public face of Love. Our political landscape that is undermining our democracy is so destructive because it negates Collective Leadership. Conscious Leadership enacts the Truth that we are ALL Leaders so that EVERYONE thrives. Conscious Leadership brings the future into the present; it is Vision-in-Action.

As Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock recently said in his annual letter to CEOs about where they will put their investments:

“Without a sense of purpose, no company, either public or private, can achieve its full potential. It will ultimately lose the license to operate from key stakeholders. It will succumb to short-term pressures to distribute earnings, and, in the process, sacrifice investments in employee development, innovation, and capital expenditures that are necessary for long-term growth…

To have a purpose is vital for long term survivability and long-term profitability. The companies that have purpose are the best companies in the world because it unites their employees, it connects their clients, and most importantly it unites the organization onto a common plain.”

We all are moving forward together as human beings in our expanding Wisdom of Collective Leadership. Profit is an outcome that emerges and optimizes itself when we focus on purpose, on actualizing our humanity.

A final thought: People in leadership roles cannot enact the Collective Leadership of Unity Consciousness, Conscious Leadership, if they are NOT in integrated wholeness, in Integrity, in Unity within themselves, mind, body, heart, and soul. We can only transform society by transforming ourselves; healing/wholing ourselves heals/wholes the system. Conscious Leadership is the choice and commitment to transform oneself so as to transform our lives. Truth, Self-Awareness, Self-Respect and Self-Worth are the foundation and catalysts for societal-economic-political transformation. Conscious Leadership brings the Truth of Unity of Collective Leadership to Life as the emerging paradigm.

Leading as Love is Service to Life. Leading is Love in Service to Life. Love Makes a Leader a Leader: Care, Understanding, Respect, and Responsibility for and Accountability to the Whole of Life.

The past four years I was Mom’s “first responder” so that she could stay in her own home. I used the time to observe deeply to learn about myself, about Leadership, about Life. It seems that John’s invitation from out of the blue was her message that it’s “time to get back to work.” John, thank you; I am with you all this week in Spirit and Love.

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