It's Time for a New Type of Leadership

09/26/2011 04:14 pm ET | Updated Nov 26, 2011
  • Ronit Herzfeld Psychotherapist, social activist and spiritual teacher

It's not about disappointment with President Obama, or disgust with Congress, nor is it about the impotence of the UN or other world leaders; it is about recognizing that we are at a juncture in human development that calls for a whole new type of leadership -- collaborative leadership. This leadership calls on each one of us to step up and become leaders of our own lives, unite with one another, pool our resources and energies to work together toward the betterment of our global community.

Humankind is at a new crossroads at this time in our history, one that requires us to shift out of the paradigm of business as usual and develop new approaches to meeting the needs of this very different world we all live in. We are facing more economic, environmental and population growth challenges than we have ever faced before and the current leadership is less capable of handling them. We need to look to ourselves, our communities and our organizations for a different kind of leadership.

Currently, there are millions of amazing people and tens of thousands of organizations working feverishly to address many of the challenges all sentient beings are facing on our planet. Just one example is the online project Care2, which has over 16 million members, many of whom are doing something every day to alleviate suffering in our world. Despite all of this activity, we don't see any major improvement; on the contrary, things seem to be getting worse: extreme weather patterns, greater economic divide between the haves and have nots, and greater political and religious polarization. One reason is that many of these wonderful organizations operate independently, compete for the same resources and end up duplicating efforts. Clearly we need to do something differently if we want to triumph over these incredible challenges.

So what can we do?

We can begin by thinking out of the box. We need to come together to discuss and explore what we can do differently.

On October 8th and 9th, a conference is being held in Marina Del Rey called Leaders causing Leaders. Its goal is to promote this new conversation and to create a new paradigm for leadership. It's operating from the premise that we need to band together in service of our common vision: the promotion of a vibrant, peaceful and thriving planet.

This vision can only be realized if we function as an ecosystem, supporting each others' efforts and ensuring that every part of the system receives what it needs to be healthy.

What can that look like?

If we see and value each organization and person as fingers of a single hand, then we would know that in order for the whole hand to be healthy we need to make sure that every finger is healthy. Moreover, the fingers must all work together. In other words, each one of us is working on a piece of a greater vision, be it the environment, education, social justice, economics, health, etc.

Operating from this perspective will require a shift in our perception from the individual agenda to the collective good, from scarcity to abundance, from egocentric to world-centric, from mine to ours. It will require us to truly be willing to share: our finances, our energies, our time and most importantly our individual sense of importance.

We need to start caring about each others' missions as much as we care about our own. After all, what would we gain if one organization focuses only on food shortage or better health but does not coordinate with organizations concerned with climate change? The impending effects of climate change will devastate our ecosystem, causing massive droughts or other catastrophic outcomes, which will ultimately negate the short-term progress made by the organization operating in isolation.

We need to find a way to come together, see the bigger picture, develop strategies and pool our resources to have our collective efforts be truly impactful. By becoming more coordinated and efficient in our actions, we will achieve much greater results.

The Leaders causing Leaders conference brings together leaders from various fields to create structures that will enable individuals and organizations to coordinate resources and actions with each other in the service of our collective vision. It will also create a strong sense of urgency to inspire everyone attending the conference to step up and become a leader for change in his/her own community and equip them with platforms and tools to sustain their collaborative leadership long after the conference ends.

It is time for new leadership! We need a clear vision, one which resonates, evokes, and compels people to hear their calling to become collaborative leaders. Each one of us is responsible for the whole. We are all in this together. We must establish a system that will provide a path for other leaders to step into and make it their own. Calling all leaders!

Join the conference by registering here.