My first open letter to the leadership training community

September 15, 2021 by Joshua
in Leadership, Nature

Regular readers know I first called my podcast Leadership and the Environment because I saw our response to the environment lacking leadership. As a leadership coach, I’m in touch with many leadership coaches, including some of the most renowned who have been guests on the podcast.

Leaders and leadership coaches could play the most important role addressing our environmental problems. Instead, nearly none act. Those who act to so ineffectively, hindered by not trying to act sustainably themselves, so not knowing what changing a lifestyle to sustainability takes or means.

Fountain Pen

To leaders and leadership coaches,

Our environmental problems are dominating the front page and growing. We’ve all heard “We can solve these problems. The question is will we.” That is, it’s a matter of leadership. Yet the leadership training community is nearly silent on the greatest issue facing our species.

Our community that could help the most is nearly silent on what could make us humanity’s saviors. More grave, many in the leadership training community brag about how much they fly and consume, exacerbating the problem.

To clarify, the problem is not just their pollution. It is the example they set. As with everyone, helping or hurting, our greatest impact is through our influence on others, which multiplies our effect. Do we consume without regard to the people and wildlife affected by our driving, air conditioning, dietary choices, flying, and so on, thereby leading others to? Or do we lead others to consider others and act in stewardship?

This community of which I am a member seems to be abdicating its responsibility, if anything stepping on the gas. Martin Luther King didn’t write Letter From Near Birmingham Jail because he considered his work too important to be delayed by going to jail. He knew leadership meant living the values he promoted.

I consider leading others among our most important work anyone can do until humanity embraces stewardship over overpopulation and overconsumption.

Please show me I’m missing something. Do you know of leadership trainers working in this area? Even if they aren’t working in it, do you know of any interested in working on it? I can’t tell you how much I wish to learn I’m wrong about this apparent abdication.

I hope to help start this community’s leadership in an area of global demand and suffering that we can uniquely help solve more effectively than maybe anyone else.

The letter above is practice. I’m meeting increasingly with leadership coaching communities who, I think, will appreciate the medicine.

I believe effective leaders must have experience in three areas. I’ve used this diagram before, but worth repeating, most people acting on the environment think they only need to know the science or have experience leading. An effective leader in sustainability and stewardship needs both, plus experience living sustainably.

Missing From Sustainability

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