Did you know that the Earth Charter, a soft law instrument that is gradually becoming “harder”, has the word Love in it? One of the principles of the Earth Charter is to “Care for the community of life with understanding, compassion and love.”

Leadership development practitioners, such as those at the Teleos Leadership Institute are increasingly talking about “Whole Leaders” and how to build capacities in our development leaders which incorporate mind, heart, body and spirit. Their new book Resonant Leaders explores “renewing yourself and connecting with others through mindfulness, hope and compassion.”

This weekend I am at a steering committee meeting for a network of sustainability scientists and leaders that I have the pleasure to attend each year in December, in Walliselen, Switzerland. In our very first conversation this morning we talked about what makes this particular network of sustainability leaders, which has been active for 25 years, so successful. Members agreed that when this community meets, it becomes one of the few environments – safe creative spaces- where you can integrate your intellectual work and “love”. In the conversations of this group, people can talk in the same sentences about global change, development trends and dynamics and care, concern and love for society, the environment, their friends and themselves.

The difference? They do not feel that this type of holistic conversation diminishes the intellectual rigor of their points. On the contrary. It is felt to be more real, more accurate and more representative of the real world, than the potentially one-sided conversations happening in science-based bodies now. Think about it, when was the last time you used the “L” word in one of your workplace conversations?

1 reply
  1. dormgrandpop
    dormgrandpop says:

    Dana Meadows was the person who created this context and sustained it, in the face of considerable resistance, initially. Her great strength was that her scientific standards were so high, it made it more difficult to denigrate her commitment to a culture of love. The latter shines through in the ‘Dear Folks” letters she often wrote immediately following the balaton group meetings. Creating a loving context has another great advantage for an organization – I know this from experience with my own group of 11 managers who report to me directly. In a loving context, individuals are much more willing to accept criticism and direction from ther “boss” and from other managers.

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