As the year comes to a close and we reflect on the challenges of 2020 for humanity and in particular for the Leadership Development profession, we acknowledge how we have all had to adapt to new modes of developing leadership, as well as fundamentally changed expectations by everyone.
The LD profession has been part of the journey to a new world. We have helped build leadership for the benefit of humanity.
Like everyone, the LD profession experienced the initial acute crisis in early 2020, and we noted the global reliance on beneficial authority (or not!). Then we experienced the steady realisation of the chronic longer-term issues the world was facing into. We participated in and helped lead the dialogue of how a new and better world might emerge: how we could avoid returning to some of the problems of the “old normal”. We also helped lead the processes to address the awful immediate and long-term consequences of the pandemic.
The LD profession is seeking to build leadership which maximises human wellbeing and sustainable ecosystems. In fact, throughout 2020, leadership has been central to individuals’, organisations’ and nations’ responses to the pandemic. We’ve helped everyone consider the balance between authority and leadership, between short-term and long-term focus, between adaptive and technical approaches, between individual and collective responsibility, and between cognition, emotion and purpose. There have been many, many challenges.
And come January 1, 2021, despite our fondest aspirations, nothing in the broader world will really change – at least, not in the short-term.
Throughout January and beyond, it seems that the LD profession will need to continue to help the world slowly emerge from the global impacts. We will need to help people continue to adjust to the ongoing disappointments which the recovery will inevitably comprise – while still helping people to build on the many opportunities ahead. We will need to keep helping people, organisations and nations adjust to losses, to help heal the trauma, to build and maintain resilience, and to focus on self and others to build the best possible future.
This year 2020 is part of a unique point in human history: a unique time to help emerge a better world. To support this, TLN engaged worldwide with best-practice opportunities for our members and friends. In 2020 TLN network members met with Marty Linsky, Maxime Fern, Louise Marra, Erik Larson and many others to help us negotiate the way ahead. Similarly our network supported each other: our highly valued series of peer checkins and peer-to-peer collaborations helped the profession reach out to each other for support, ideas, insights and collective strength. 2021 will continue and strenghten these important activities.
The LD profession is perhaps under-recognised. So, on behalf of everyone who benefits from the profession's contribution to the world: a special thank you for all the profession achieves in developing leadership to help emerge a better world in 2021 and beyond. Humanity benefits from good leadership development. There is much more to do.
Bring on 2021!
The Leadership Network
Richard Dent OAM