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Landmarks for Leaders in Times of Uncertainty….
 

Rapid change whilst facing uncertainty, requires great courage. I found the article in the Pegasus newsletter titles “Landmarks for Leaders in Times of Uncertainty and Chaos” by Bob Stilger very insightful. The article discusses how community leaders are creating change inspite of the uncertainty around them.
“All around the world, people are stepping forward in new ways to provide leadership. In many cases, they are not the people in positions of power in organizations or communities; they are simply those who see what must be done and are willing to speak and then to act. Often, as they begin to step forward, their hearts are pounding with fear, but they believe the time has come to offer a new possibility for the future.
Where do these leaders come from? What gives them the courage to speak up? What capacities and practices, if cultivated, support people in developing their own leadership?”
In the article the author has identified six key landmarks of these enspirited leaders…..
 
1.    A Sense of True Calling: “Each of these pioneering leaders has stepped into his or her work because of a strong sense of calling, rather than through a methodical, strategic decision-making process. In many ways, life leads them to their work. And, of course, their work then leads them to their life….. What stands out to me from many conversations is that these leaders follow deep gut instincts that tell them where to place their attention and where to create their intentions for action. Their actions are conceived in a place of spirit, not in a place of thought.”
2.    In the Company of Others: “Part of the answer is that they don’t do their work alone. Close friends and family who share deep bonds of trust, love, and respect are essential for finding the courage to follow the inner voice….. There may be some who believe they can make these journeys alone, as rugged individuals. But why? Why wouldn’t we all want to find close companions to share our journey? Why wouldn’t we seek others excited by the same possibilities and the same questions? Where would we find nourishment if we traveled alone? ”
3.    A Spiritual Center: “What do leaders need to have in order to stand with confidence in a complex, changing, and unpredictable world? A partial answer, I suspect, is that holding an encompassing view requires, at least from time to time, a higher level of consciousness. The evolution of such consciousness seems to require a spiritual practice…… The presence of a spiritual center is what allows these leaders to hear and trust their inner voices and follow their calls. They also move, with that spirit, into a place of reflective learning that acts as a compass to guide their action.”
4.    A Demand for Diversity: “When these young leaders look at a given situation, they look for the surrounding web of relationships and systems. They look for the whole picture….. The capacity to understand that the way we view our lives is a construct our minds have created makes it easier to let go of false certainties…..  The presence of others whose ideas and experiences differ greatly from our own invites us to let go of our limited view of what’s needed and what can happen. Diversity is a key to open exploration and inquiry. It is what helps us let go of old ideas and solutions and search for what else might be possible.”
5.    Reflective Learning as a Guide: “For these leaders, the search for spiritual grounding is accompanied by a continuous process of surfacing facts and impressions, revealing patterns and assumptions, examining actions and behaviors, and affirming or changing the course of action. This continuous process makes up reflective learning….. These reflections are alive. They hold a sense of genuine curiosity. This kind of reflective learning affirms life and invites inquiry into the uncertain path of transformation. The process of making such reflections explicit is as ordinary for these leaders as their spirituality is. They have a capacity to move easily from the realm of spirit to the realm of thought, and this motion gives them balance.”
6.    Ambiguity and Uncertainty: “Ambiguity and uncertainty are befriended in this work. To follow a sense of calling, in the company of others, aware of a diverse world, from a spiritual center, and with an awareness of assumptions is to let go of control. There is simply no other way. Doing all of those things throws the doors of ambiguity and uncertainty wide open….. A choice each of us can make is whether ambiguity and uncertainty open a pathway to fear or a pathway to balance. When we think we are supposed to be in charge, when our self-confidence is based on being able to predict what will happen and how things will turn out, then ambiguity and uncertainty usually invite our fear to rise up and bite us… When we are able to release ourselves into the uncertainty, we are invited to become explorers, to discover what lies ahead as we work with others to create that future.”
Community leadership is one of the most demanding leadership environment from which to lead. It requires great courage and commitment. These six “landmarks” provide an excellent foundation for community leadership practices.


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