The Leadership We Need Now

“It’s an act of rebellion to show up as someone trying to be whole.” Courtney Martin

“Complexity can only be held by community.” Parker Palmer

I listen to a weekly podcast called On Being whose goal is to “take up the big questions of meaning.” A recent episode featuring Courtney Martin and Parker Palmer is an important conversation about the “The Inner Life of Rebellion.”

Three things stand out for me:

First, the participants present a model for the necessary qualities of intergenerational conversations that are and will continue to be essential for our cultural well-being in the years and decades ahead. Most of my work is with Boomer and GenX leaders and they are wary of Millennials, to put it nicely. As we know, the more we can normalize one to the other the more impact all will have.

Second, the first and primary focus of any act of “rebellion” must be on the internal life of the individual. And, that making the effort to start within – to continually assess and shape one’s wholeness – is in itself an act of rebellion. We live at a time when we can present multiple and fractured versions of ourselves to the world. What would happen if we lived into a commitment to our own wholeness and shared ourselves as the works in progress that we are?

FInally, and perhaps most significantly for our culture of “rugged individualism” is an emphasis on the role of community in holding complexity. We do not need to, nor can we, hold as individuals the overwhelming amount of turbulence that exists in the world today. While we must each find our own center point in the midst of it, we will not work with it constructively as individuals alone.

These, then, are the urgent requirements of leadership today:

  1. Facilitate empathy across the generations.
  2. Commit to your wholeness. Start and stay in an ever-deepening conversation with your internal self.
  3. Be a catalyst for the transition from “me” to “we.”

If it’s an act of rebellion to live this way, it’s an even greater one to lead this way. And we must.

One thought on “The Leadership We Need Now

  1. Hey David,

    Can you send that version of Maslow’s hierarchy that shows wifi as the bottom line need? I think you shared that when you gave your talk here… love that.

    Best Always,

    Doug Walker
    Manager, HR Services, Service Operations

    3570 Carmel Mountain Rd.|Suite 180|San Diego, CA|92130
    OFFICE: 858-523-7840 | Mobile: 858-860-4012 | FAX: 858-523-7890


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