Inner Work

Leadership Imperatives for Complexity #4

Complexity is messy. When we encounter a messy problem, most of us tend to pay attention first to “the problem” as something separate from us. For example, if the quality of public education in my town has declined, I look at things like school financing, teacher preparation, curriculum, etc. I implicitly define the problem as “out there.” While those things surely deserve attention, I’ll be more effective in making changes if I also consider myself as part of the system and thus something that might be changed to shift the system.

Are you disturbed?

If you’re not, maybe you should be. While events around the world continue to be disturbing, that’s not what I’m talking about here.

Robert Greenleaf, who first brought Servant Leadership into popular awareness puts it this way. “Awareness is a disturber and an awakener. Able leaders are usually sharply awake and reasonably disturbed.“

Awareness is disturbing. So why bother?

As leaders in these difficult times, we need this “disturbing” awareness to fully meet the complexity and uncertainty the world brings us. All of us have habitual ways of thinking that limit us.