One of the most important aspects of this new culture of co-leadership is that people will no longer have the luxury of simply being followers. We cannot sit around waiting for leaders to appear because we probably would not follow them if they did show up.
Younger generations are restless and suspicious of hierarchical leadership, for good reason. They prefer to be actively engaged in the causes that they care about. However, they generally do not possess the maturity and depth of consciousness to be evolutionary co-leaders. We must face the fact that the United States has not invested in the type and quality of education designed to create millions of thought leaders and activists prepared to address the challenges of our age. We teach most students to follow instructions, not create new possibilities.
We also need to retrain adults, to be less dependent (they can no longer depend on their employer to provide for their needs), to be more generative (to create meaningful work), and to be more generous (we are in this together, and we need to give those who are struggling a hand up). The most difficult kind of generosity is giving people what they need to sustain themselves. We are threatened by this level of generosity because we have bought into the scarcity myth and we are used to playing the capitalist competition win/lose games. We fail to see that working 50 or 60 hours a week to keep our job steals so much of the quality of our lives. There would be enough work, and enough food and shelter to go around if we practiced an empowering kind of generosity.
This evolutionary transformation needs to begin within our selves, extending to our families and neighbors, rippling out to our workplaces and markets, impacting the way we vote, and the people we elect to represent us. All politics are local, and global transformation begins in our local community.
The metaphor or image that I hold for this new model of leadership is the image of an ecosystem, or of a perma-culture (garden). It is holistic and highly collaborative. Each person contributes something to the collective well-being, even if the contribution is as ordinary as receiving love and care (our children and people with severe disabilities).
It will not be easy. It will be the most difficult and courageous thing that human beings have ever done. Our survival depends on it. We did not create the web of life, we are merely strands in it. We can be engaged in restoring the web, and creating stronger connections. We are in this together.