TED Conversations

Nikolaï  Ray

Founder, International Society of Exceptional Leaders

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Do you think that developing emerging and current leaders is key to the advancement of our society?

Let's face it, our society needs to make some drastic changes, fast! We as a race can not wait for political leaders to act, therefore the development of leaders from all walks of life is essential to advancing positive development of our world. Your thoughts and ideas are encouraged, I would like to hear your opinions on this!

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    Jul 19 2011: Yes, I think developing emerging and current leaders is key. AND I think that helping everyone to see themselves as a leader of change is also valuable. The situations we face, and the need for each of us to be more proactive in CREATING our world, is calling for everyone to step into their unique capacity to lead and influence regardless of their position in life. Leaders who hold the title of "leader" can be instrumental in holding the space open for advancements to occur, but I think that inspiring, challenging, and equipping everyone to lead in their own unique way is what is necessary for true advancement and development of our world. People seek meaning in their lives; they seek belonging; they want to be valuable; they have the capacity to be great. What if we invited them into that, consistently and compellingly. The more people who step up to lead and offer their gifts and life-enriching influence the better for all of us.
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    Jul 19 2011: There is so much written and discussed about leadership but what about followership?
    Not everyone can or should lead. We have everyone believing that they 'should' be a leader even if they have no vision. It is not a personality quality to be necessarily developed. I think we should be focusing on turning people into great members of societies, teams, cooperative efforts and then the leaders will show up on schedule. When everyone pitches in and does what they do best the Ghandis, the Kellermans and the next leaders will step up when the vision coalesces.
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      Jul 19 2011: Debra, thank you for your great insight. To add to your comments, when I speak of leadership, I have several distinctions. For example, "Personal Leadership" where one is assuming responsibility for leading one's own life and work (as compared to "Relational Leadership" - leading others). In Personal Leadership, one may in fact choose to have a vision of self as a "follower" - which is a very good choice. Or they may choose to distinguish their self as a "citizen" instead of a "consumer." To me, the choice to be a great follower is in fact a leadership choice - just a "Personal Leadership" choice. I think in the final analysis, we are all leaders and followers. It just looks different based on who we are and where we are in life.
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        Jul 20 2011: Great points indeed Denver!

        I see the world today needing to be just (equitability in basic rights) and sustainable. Do you see any clear global leadership today in meeting these needs? Or our individual leaderships (self, family, community, nations) will be enough to transform our world?
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          Jul 20 2011: Joe, I think the work in the areas of Integral Theory as applied to Leadership and world issues offers much value for Global Leadership initiatives; the challenge with the Integral Approach is that many people simply don't know about it, understand it, or agree with it. No, I do not think that self, family, community, or national leadership is enough to transform our world. We need an evolution of our worldview, such that we can actually SEE the WORLD and its needs. The consumer mindset, for example, is quite pervasive and accelerating; that is an issue that will need to be addressed by all of us. (Create a sustainable world, or merely consume it?) And I think a vital part of addressing that is stepping back to see the GLOBAL impact of consumerism. (Obviously, consumerism is only one topic, but a BIG one that impacts basic rights and sustainability.) The world is a dynamic system, a living beingness. For it to be sustainable, there will need to be Global Leadership and a different relationship with the world as a whole. And for Global Leadership to be effective, we will need more leadership at the self, family, community, and national levels. Just a few of my thoughts.
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      Jul 19 2011: Debra, your comments are so very true! In order to have social, or relational leaders as Denver put it, there are those who need to learn how to be better followers, engaged followers, not just riding a wave or swallowing any doctrine that is fed to them.

      As for your insight Denver, your disambiguation of leadership is very clear and true, I will allow myself to kindly steal your way of describing leadership if you don't mind!

      Both types of leadership must be encouraged in my opinion. Every human needs to develop his or her own personal leadership. Simultaneously we need to be encouraging and developing an honest and value-driven group of social/relational leaders and also teach the followers how to help these leaders do better, be better and be responsible! I would even consider this a sort of mentor-disciple process without the dogma that might accompany this phrase thanks to various world religions, or should I say Doctrine Corporations.

      Great discussion!
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    Jul 19 2011: Nikolai, my feeling too is we need to transform our world fast and this is the chance of our generation in this decade to avert the looming global risks like climate change, alongside our overall thrust to transform our world. We, the people is the government and we do have the power to make it work (http://bit.ly/SolutionStrategies).

    Developing leaders is also crucial as you are doing in your professional work. Developing leaders and strengthening our academic and cultural education. Many people are also involved in training our future leaders like the work of WEF with its Forum of Young Global Leaders and many more is indeed needed to lead from all walks of life.
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      Jul 19 2011: I appreciate your comment, very interesting point of view and I entirely agree with you!
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    Jul 19 2011: It is transforming. The old gives way to the new with reluctance and disruption is to be expected.

    For us, this is happening now.

    "Don't follow leaders, watch the parking meters.." Bob Dylan.
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      Jul 19 2011: Scott, how do you see yourself as an actor part of this transformation? What role can you play or have been playing?