Leaders Exemplify and Embody Human Maturity

Along with the reminder that as human beings we have multiple intelligences, I was recently reminded that we have multiple levels of development that must be consciously and actively addressed for us to fulfill our potential and actualize as human beings. Otherwise, our development is stopped or we regress to earlier stages and we fail to achieve maturity and our potential. Culturally and societally we manifest our personal and collective levels of development of human consciousness through our social-economic-political system.

Growth and development is a Life-long process. Each of these stages is a worldview, a reality based in beliefs that we project and create. Our culture/society has several levels; the first three define our current social-economic-political system:

Our own immediate needs, opportunities, self-protection and personal advantage of win/lose, seeing rules as a loss of freedom and any challenge as an attack that we need to defend. Domination and determination. Love is getting what one wants. This is ego-centric, emotional-mental age of a young child between 2 and 7.

Our self-identity is defined by our relationship and belonging to a group with socially expected rules, roles, discipline, and behavior and need for approval; we conform. We seek security and stability and follow absolute rules of morality, of right/wrong, good/bad, and maintain harmony/avoid conflict. Duty. Fundamentalism. Law and order. Conservatism. Hierarchy and power. Love is approval. This is ethno-centric (others like me, tribal, nationalist, religious, partisan), emotional-mental age of a child between 7 and 12.

Our success and autonomy are acting in our own self-interest by playing the game to win, using our own logic and beliefs. Success is defined within the system; delivering results. Use of resources for the “good life.” Advance by seeking “best” solutions within the system. Consumerism/materialism; sales and marketing. Rationality and science. Individualism and democracy. Love is getting/owning. This is world-centric, mental-emotional age of an adolescent between 12 and 22 which began about 300 years ago.

At the next level, we begin to consciously take on our own Self-Development.

Our experience is defined by community, cooperation, equality, caring, participation. Sensitive. Seeks self-development that frees the human spirit from greed, dogma and divisiveness. Civil and human rights. Justice. Moral courage. Environmentalism. Distributing resources and opportunities equally. Questioning old identities. Begins to seek and value feedback. Tolerant. Understands life’s complexity, individual differences and systemic connections. Liberalism. Love is sharing. This is world-centric, mental-emotional age of an adult which began about 50 years ago.

These are not mutually exclusive: With self-awareness, we can find ourselves at multiple, sometimes apparently “contradictory” levels. Within our personally dominant worldview we see the “others” as “wrong” or nonexistent; we literally cannot “see” them. Our social sphere consists of those who agree with us, at the same level(s). Each of these is a partial and incomplete view of reality: With conscious development towards maturity, we integrate and move beyond their limited perspectives.

The current “highest” stages of Human Development are exemplified by encompassing, integrating and moving beyond the preceding worldviews. These stages are emerging now.

Our experience is the responsibility for Being and Becoming. Flexible, spontaneous, creative, effective. Knowledge and competence rather than power and status. Integration of differences into interdependence; dynamic system interactions. Egalitarian. Interpartisan. Aware of paradox and contradiction in system and within self. Feedback is vital for growth and making sense of the world. Sensitive to context. Reframes and reinterprets situations so that actions support principles, integrity and foresight. Love is Serving Growth.

Our experience interacts with the world as alive and evolving; we live from both the individual and the trans-personal Self, of mind and of Spirit. Seeks personal and spiritual transformation for self and others. Universal order in Life not dependent on rules or group bonds. Unites feeling with knowledge. Sees self as both distinct and blended with whole. Compassionate Wholeness of Life with holistic, intuitive and integrative thinking and collaborative actions that recognize the primacy of our egos as the most serious threat to the future of humanity and Life. Global, human citizen. Systemic and dynamic view of processes and Life with Responsibility for the Whole. Holds multiple perspectives and complexities. Reframes, turns inside-out, upside-down, holding up the mirror to society. Love is Life’s Wholeness: Life Is Love.

These last two stages are Kosmos-centric, spiritual-emotional-mental consciousness of a Human Being.

Leaders are those who Awaken us to the next levels of human consciousness and initiate human progress, which must be done from a higher level: We can’t solve problems from the same level of consciousness that created them.

A blinding glimpse of the obvious is that Leadership Development IS Development of Conscious Awareness of our True Nature: Our Conscious Maturation, Integration and Embodiment as Human Beings of Mind, Heart, Body, and Soul; of Thought, Feeling, Action, and Spirit; of Cognitive, Emotional, Moral, and Spiritual Intelligences. Leading is Love in Service to Life. ~ Adapted from Ken Wilber