There is a newer term being used called Regenerative Leadership; although it may have some overlap with what we have come to know as Sustainability Leadership, it has its own overarching scope. As expressed by Giles Hutchins & Katherine Long, Regenerative Leadership is: “used to describe the integration of living systems thinking and being, as expressed in leadership in all its shapes and forms … in contrast to machine model approaches which have for so long dominated our collective consciousness.”
A more detailed description is offered by Vanessa Mark and Nedelina Vangelova (2022): “Regenerative Leadership is a newly emerged leadership approach with a holistic worldview that is aiming to restore, preserve and enhance people, society and environment. It is a purposeful and empathic leadership that focuses on fostering partnerships between people and nature.” In their recent research, Mark and Vangelova found that Regenerative Leaders build team cultures that shift power and agency to the team as a collective, the collaborative processes are centred around self-organization and inclusive decision-making. Building a culture of trust and encouraging learning, the leaders strengthen the adaptive capacities in the small social system of their work teams, thereby contributing to social sustainability.”
Simply put, regenerative leadership is a positive way to lead in complexity and from a global perspective. More of us are aware that we are far more than citizens of a country. Many realize that we are interconnected global citizens.
In a National Geographic series called “One Strange Rock”, astronauts described their experiences of being at the International Space Station. One astronaut, Dr. Nicole Stott, shared something that strongly stood out to me when I viewed this series a few years ago: “The thing I left space with is…I live on a planet. We live on a planet. And it is blanketed by this thin fragile atmosphere and that’s the only natural border that exists around us…And we’re all Earthlings.” Amongst many other experiences, the series also showed views of Earth, the interactions of weather patterns on the Earth, and how that impacts all of us, not just people in certain areas, an illustration of our interconnectivity and impact.
In more recent times, we have seen this complexity through our collective experience of the pandemic crisis, related sickness, and death, undulating restrictions and rules, and adaptation which continues. We have had the chance to see how we are all interconnected in some way and are collectively impacted by viruses, supply chains, food supplies, and more.
This realization supports us to be much more aware, learn and act. With this awareness and thinking ahead to the near-term future, this understanding can be transformed into action starting with ourselves and collaborating and innovating with others to regenerate our ways of living and leading with the bigger picture in mind.
The purpose of regenerative leadership is to “free ourselves from the mindset of scarcity and competition and step into co-creating a future of shared collaborative abundance for
all of humanity and the community of life.” (Daniel Christian Wahl).
What does regenerative leadership require? From the
authors of Regenerative Leadership, “On an operational
level, this means abandoning the idea of the organization as
a machine that can be measured and controlled, instead recognizing that it is part of an interconnected web of relationships,
materials, and resources. “
If we want to become a Regenerative Leader, the way forward is to increase our awareness, put ourselves at a new choice point, and determine what new actions we will take. In a world where people are struggling, this type of focus is often not on our radars as we struggle with immediate matters at hand like business survival in a tighter marketplace, retention where there is competition for talent and an appetite for people to live meaningful lives at work, supply chain issues, inflation, and more. This type of leadership can help with these challenges and can also lead to contributing to a bigger view of our ripple impact out in the world. It can happen in parallel with addressing your immediate challenges and opportunities.
Here are some ways you can get started with Regenerative Leadership (informed by Inc. article: 4 Ways to Be a Regenerative Leader in a Complex World-Wide regenerative leadership is a 21st Century imperative):
- Think big – ask yourself what your impact is up, down, across, inside, and outside of your role and organization, and around the globe.
- Be aware of how all are connected – for example, how your role and your company are connected with the myriad of businesses and systems you interact with, including natural resources, suppliers, markets, IT, community, etc. Map out the systems. Be grateful for these.
- Model and put systems in place to foster well-being.
- Align your values with what and how you are going about things. Live your values and support others to do the same.
What are your thoughts on this type of leadership? How might you integrate it into your leadership?
Yours in learning about new approaches to meet current and future needs,
If you are ready to take a new approach to inspire and empower yourself and your stakeholders, board members, and team members, please reach out and book a complimentary Exploration Call with me at email@example.com.