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#ebblisbon – Alain Gauthier: Evolutionary co-leadership


Starting to talk about the new forms of leadership, he explained that co-enterpreneurship, located in the middle of the curve between entrepreneuship and plutocracy leading to disintegration could generate chaos, so that another form of leadership is needed in order to overcome it.

We can identify four domains of human experience from the combination of the individual / collective and interior / exterior variables and two dimension of evolution, from the combinatiin of the I / We and interior / exterior variables. We can also distinguish between evolutionists, limited to the externally observable aspects, and evolutionists, who appreciate borth exterior and interior aspects.

A domination paradigm creates authoritarian and punitive social structures, which are causing the current polycrisis like ethnic/religious conflicts, ecological threats, economic disoarities, erosion of solidarity, etc. If we turn to a partnership paradigm we find equality as intrisic value, mutual trust and flat structures and what has to be built are some stories and myths honoring partnership as normal.The paradigm shift we need is from machines to living systems: from command and control ro collaborative dynamics.  Which are the forms of collaborative leadership? Learning, sharing, distributing, distributing, rotating, complementary, co-creative, consultative, accompanying, collegial, cooperative, etc.

Moving to the second question he explored the characteristics of co-leadership. Lead comes from the indo-eropean word “leath”, which means “going forward, “crosseing  threshold” or even “dying”. The practice of co-leadership invite other to cross a threshold, venture together into the unknown, sense together what is trying to eme rge and open up a space whwre individual creativity and collective wisdon can be combined. Examples of co-leadership can be found in sports, art (jazz ensemble, theatre improvisation), movies (Lord of rings, Star Wars, Matrix,…) and economy.

An evolutionary discenrs deep patterns and integrates disciplines theat have been separated, in reflection as in action; look At reality with a sense of long, deep time; trusts the life process and show profound faith in the future and, last but not least, experiences co-creating and being co-responsible for evolution.

Evolutionary co-leadership is the synthesis between indivisual heroic leadership (thesis)  and collective / cooperative leadership (antithesis): it’s the application of the moderation value.  Evolutionary co-leadership can be seen as dances: the inner dance of personal practiced on one side, the interpersonal and systemic practices on the other one and the evolutionary dance as metasystemic practice.

Which are the possible next steps? He suggested individual and collective inquiry, experimentation, feedback and sharing; identifying and supporting other co-evolutionary experiments and the participation to communities of pratice.

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