Key Shared Insights & Perspectives
A New Definition of Leadership
Before we discussed the new emerging models, Céline Schillinger suggested that we start with a new definition of leadership to help us rethink this important role.
Céline invited us to discover Martin Chemers, author of Leadership and Effective Management, who offers an integrated theory of leadership and an interesting definition. He defines leadership as a “process of social influence in which one person is able to enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task.”
This definition disrupts the common toxic idea of leadership as power over others and of entitlement.
Charles Matheus complements this definition with the idea that leadership is a fractal, or repeating pattern, ranging from society leaders and leaders of an organization or a community to being the individual leader of our own lives.
From Passivity to Agency
The panel emphasized the importance of reminding ourselves that no model should be a quick scheme because it requires deep personal work.
Therefore, with new societal values arising, such as equality, inclusivity, and health combined with humility and moral values, a new leadership model becomes an example to help us think for ourselves and move from passivity to agency.
After all, what is leadership if not the ability for everyone to act in the world?
Five New Emerging Leadership Models
While traditional leadership is focused on helping organizations thrive, servant leaders put the needs of their employees first. They focus on developing individuals to help them perform at their best. Examples of servant leaders are Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., and Mother Theresa.
Some of the key characteristics expressed by servant leaders are empathy, selflessness, and humility.
As Brian Tait describes in this Forbes article “Servant leadership occurs when the leader's main goal and responsibility is to provide service to their people.”
This model refers to the ability to bring one’s entire self into a leadership position and requires an acute understanding of one's emotions, bias and worldview.
In short, conscious leadership is the process by which a leader becomes radically responsible, self-aware, and focuses on building a culture of “we” rather than a culture of “me.”
Diana Chapman, Co-Founder of The Conscious Leadership Group offers this insightful video “Locating Yourself - A Key to Conscious Leadership.”
Inclusive Relational Leadership
Charles describes inclusive relationship leadership as one of the earliest models, dating back thousands of years, while humans were living in small groups. This collaborative and cooperative way of relating to one another is how indigenous communities, religious orders, or women’s movements have organized themselves.
An inclusive relational leader will reclaim those relational abilities, also described as natural feminine characteristics we all possess, to build deeper relationships.
As a result, a leader brings their own vulnerability to foster trust with others.
Céline introduces an approach that recognizes a broad perspective of systems where everything is interconnected and consequences are unknowable.
The three characteristics this approach embraces are: Freedom, which comes from liberating oneself from the dominant patterns; Equality, in relationships between equals; and Community, which stems from joint activism in the service of a shared cause.
Freedom, Equality, and Community are much more open to emotional connection than a purely rational, expert, knowledge-based kind of relationship.
Virginie shares how she feels inspired to become a Sherpa leader while leading multiple teams from different organizations in her role of fractional CMO.
The term Sherpa comes from the members of a Himalayan people, living on the borders of Nepal and Tibet, known for their skill in mountaineering. In other words, a Sherpa leader guides others where they want to go. It’s no longer about the leader, but supporting the collective to reach their own destination.
This leadership model requires one to engage in deep listening to others, since it’s not about their own journey. They need to understand people beneath their words.
How Can Leaders Inspire Others?
In the last part of our conversation, we discussed how we can find our true power and give meaning to our lives while making our world better by inspiring others—and being inspired by them.
Being a transformational leader means that we recognize the dark elements within ourselves. Finding our own leadership style, sometimes called the “Shadow” starts by reconciling all parts of ourselves, our fears and anxieties, but also our conditioned desires to be safe, avoid vulnerability, seek power, and gather more resources.
When we can be honest about those limitations and acknowledge that we need help from others to become a better leader, that self-empowerment is a gift we give to the world.
When Power and Purpose Lead to Engagement
To inspire others also means we have found our true power with purpose. There is a mysterious emergence that takes place when one reconciles power with purpose.
As a result, it creates a deeper engagement that arises organically - disconnected from the outcome.
Letting Go of the Scale Fantasy
Finally, transformation happens one discussion at a time.
New leaders will recognize that change is a small and individual process that can only happen when we let go of the fantasy of scale. Brave leaders will develop and implement a strategy that truly inspires and mobilizes people by challenging the status quo - one idea at a time with one person at a time.
The idea of one leader creating mass change through his or her charisma has become obsolete. Instead, what is arising is a leader who supports others in their own leadership and change making. There is something to be said about scaling and broad impact via ripples and how leadership empowers others to empower others.
As we came to the end of the hour, our group concluded the discussion in the same way we started, with a tour de table.
The intention for this podcast is to help each of us become the self-authoring leader of our lives through meaningful actions. Each participant had the opportunity to reflect on what they heard and share their take-aways from the conversation or any last thoughts that they felt was left unsaid that they like to leave us with.
Final Thoughts to Consider
Our global health crisis has put our leaders to the test and many failed because they could not grasp the new societal values. As a result, the pandemic just gave many workers an opening to act on these shifting values. One of those is the way we see leadership.
In the past, we believed a leader was one person having the ultimate power and authority without having to consult others.
As a consequence, we’ve created a culture that is all about tangible results and high-performing teams. This no longer serves us because it sacrifices our well-being and the well-being of our planet.
Therefore, it’s time to shift to a new leadership model, one in which each employee can succeed through their work and creativity to lead a life of meaning and dignity.
To dive deeper on some of our panel’s work, we recommend Céline’s new book Dare to Un-Lead: The Art of Relational Leadership in a Fragmented World (now available for pre-order on Amazon) as well as Charles’s Remaking Manhood Podcast.
You can also rewatch our Pass the Mic, Episode 6, Season One on Ethical Leadership.