Part of the foreword to my book about Open Leadership (see Amazon Books in the menu). This is not one more kind of leadership. Any kind can be more or less ‘Open.’ I write this with a capital because it denotes the ‘universe inside’ from where one can more openly relate to the environment from nearby to, eventually, the ‘universe outside.’ There are no bounds in how much a leader can feel related to everything on condition of staying humble in ego.
Non-Open leadership stems from more straightforward times. Nostalgia is understandable, but we need more. We live in an increasingly complex world. This is not new, but it goes in crescendo. Technologies and social/societal evolutions are going quickly. Many people can or do not evolve accordingly, fearing deep inside that such change would take away what is profoundly valuable. By nature, people want to hold on to values. These have gained depth, among other things through being around for a long time. As such, people may long for a past that never was. There is deep humanity in this. One should not struggle against it.
Compare this flow to an ever-faster flowing river. One can put a dam to it. That is risky business. Sooner or later, the dam might break. Meanwhile, the landscape may be irreparably damaged. So, should one just let the river flow? This is also risky business. The river may run wild and damage people. Moreover, within this metaphor, it’s not just any river. It is the river of life.
The need for Open Leadership
Open Leadership is an answer to a present-day need. The Open is related to an evolving view upon the human being which is necessary, given the changing flow of the river. The first module in this book gives a general idea. Human non-conscious mental processing should be taken into account. It is the basis of all human affairs. Science is increasingly showing us what, why and how-to. The Open points to an openness towards this. It is where the depth of human values and preferences is present. Without this depth, any view of the human being is inherently incomplete.
A huge difficulty lies in the fact that this depth is not easily delineated, not easily put in conceptual form, not easily defined with clarity. It is a misty area. For an Open Leader, this brings a difficult job, though also an interesting and worthwhile one.
Resistance leads to negative stress (distress), whether or not justified. A good starting point is to see it as justified, then to think further. In many cases, there is a misjudgment underneath. Workers may feel overly disrespected as human beings by their boss. They may not correctly communicate this, so the misinterpretation grows. Mounting distress may lead to short-term absenteeism or long-term burnout. This is a hard problem because it is not easily delineated. It can lead to even more miscommunication in a self-perpetuating pattern.
The why of Open Leadership is related to finding the why of any organization. Most broadly, we, humanity, are also an organization. We need Open Leaders to evolve according to the why of who we are. It matters to know how we can act towards sustainability as a species.
The same is important for the smallest organization. Any worthwhile association is open to its environment. With humans involved, this means open complexity. Static rules are insufficient. Open Leadership should be accomplished, sooner or later. Let’s make it sooner.
Moreover, reading my book The Journey Towards Compassionate A.I., you may see the era of A.I. coming towards us soon enough. Especially the bottleneck in which non-Open leaders may misuse A.I. to manipulate and dominate is detrimental if we don’t evolve towards Openness a.s.a.p.
If one compares consciousness with a ship, then the non-conscious (‘deeper self’) is the ocean. A bossy captain can suffice to steer the ship. In reality, a total person is the ship and the ocean together. An Open Leader takes this into account for himself and others. Someone who only sees ships interprets everything accordingly. Another dimension appears with a more in-depth look.