Leadership for a New Millennium

By Karin Leonard

Whether you are an executive in a major company, or “just” the executive of your own life, leadership skills are becoming ever more essential in our high pressure times. 

Leading in the 21st century

As we are making ourselves at home in the third millennium, the “Industrial Age” that has been with us since the 1700s is coming to an end. The quest for “conquering the earth” and separating ourselves from nature has been an important evolutionary step.  However, it has also brought with it the possibility of us following in the footsteps of the dinosaurs, and becoming extinct.  Hopefully, we are now transitioning into a true “New Aeon”, one of reconnection and creating healthy interdependence. Certainly, the emergence of the Internet, and increased global awareness may indicate that we’re ready to reconnect.

Interdependence requires “all hands” leadership – not just a few visionaries in charge, but the fostering of “executive skills” in each individual, no matter what our intelligence, educational level, or upbringing.  After all, each one of is responsible for our own life – and building a sustainable future as a common goal is no longer a luxury. 

What Is Leadership?

There is both “inner” and “outer” leadership.  Taking the lead with our inner world is about focusing on what we want, rather than staying stuck in the problem (what we don’t want).  We look at our results as feedback – rather than as failure. This also means taking charge of our internal dialogue, and transforming self-criticism into supporting ourselves to succeed.

“Outer” leadership is about taking charge of our lives, building our communities and stewarding the environment.  This starts with acknowledging where we are now.  Then, we can begin to lead in the direction we want to go.

As leaders, we are committed to bringing forth our potential as individuals, and as a species.  Whether this means improving the quality of our life and performance, the success and atmosphere of our company or workplace, or the state of our environment, true leadership shows a desire for constant improvement, rather than saying “I just work here…”

Leadership today also refers to collaborating with and coaching others – rather than leading the troops into battle as did the kings of the past, or pushing for our way at all cost and giving orders.  A framework of working together opens up the abundance of each other as potential resources.

Leadership As Alignment

            Tao leaders live close to nature.

            Their actions flow from the heart.

                                                (Tao, 8)

It has been said that happiness results from being in harmony with ourselves, and the world around us.  In terms of developing executive skills, this means closing the gap between our values, principles and goals and our actions   – as well as being in alignment with the bigger picture of the world around us. 

Both modern science and spiritual traditions such as Taoism teach us about the great interconnected web of life, and universal energy patterns. And, as we increase our awareness, rather than acting out of impulse, we can begin to notice a flow of energy through the day, with events, and in exchanges between people.  We can harmonize with that current – or we can try to swim against it.  Going “with the flow” in this instance does not equate with being passive. Rather it refers to being able to assess a situation, and using the currents to move toward a desired direction.  A great tool in this process is intuition, the practical wisdom of gut knowledge.


For information:   

Karin Leonard & Associates:  (831) 724-5400  

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E-mail karin@innerevolution.com.



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