Global responsibility and leader development

Whole Person Learning

For a new generation of leaders, ‘global responsibility’ will not be a theory or an add-on, but an integral ingredient of all they do.

In Whole Person Learning Bryce Taylor outlines the impact of globalisation, the spread of advances in technology and the increased pace of competition: the erosion of hierarchy, changing patterns of thinking and changing expectations of life. “All of these make for an unstable and complex environment thus making it difficult for people to know what will happen and how it will unfold – including organisations” (Taylor, 2010).

The answer? “It is becoming increasingly apparent that big new problems cannot be solved by using the same old mindset; a mindset that either caused them in the first place of which was unable to manage them successfully. The future calls for us to bring more of ourselves to the situations we meet and the problems we face” (Taylor, 2010).

There is a need to work with greater interdependence. Even those who work alone in scattered teams know that they are dependent upon one another’s contribution for their overall success. All this means that we will have to become more peer-based in our relationships with one another.

Becoming more peer-based means:

  • More collaboration
  • Shared and agreed decision-making
  • Joint accountability for decisions
  • Dealing with our differences on the way
  • Managing differences in cultural understanding positively.

In Whole Person Learning Bryce argues that organisations of all types are finding it difficult to recruit leaders of the calibre needed to face this changing future. They need people who have the potential for development and not simply the skills or aptitudes to do the job. “People become more valuable the more adaptable and the more willing they are to relish and respond to change in a robust and resilient fashion” (Taylor, 2010).  Recruitment is not always the answer – development is needed.

“It is not a matter of creating a profile of what is wanted and then finding those who can match the profile. The task facing both recruiter and organisation is not one that has a ready-made answer. It will require the creation of new forms of development and learning – more whole person learning approaches, because the kind of development we are talking about here is of a kind that needs an educational approach. If we want to develop people who can work with such high degrees of uncertainty and unpredictability and who in doing so can thrive, then we need to recognise that it will require a good deal of consideration and a much more developmental approach than we have been used to” (Taylor, 2010).

Whole Person Learning and a developmental approach are responses to the increasing interrelatedness of personal, social and wider planetary concerns, which express themselves in a variety of ways at an individual, collective, and global level. From this whole person approach there are three essential elements in all the activities in which we become engaged:

  1. Development is possible in all situations.
  2. The potential for change requires those involved to engage with themselves, those around them and the circumstances in which they find themselves at all levels – cognitively, affectively, physically (somatically) as well as spiritually.
  3. This is essentially an educational activity. It raises questions of values, purpose, identity and commitment.
Bryce Taylor was a radical educator, author and leading edge thinker and practitioner in the human development movement.

He was the inspiration for, and co-founder of, the Oasis School of Human Relations.

His thinking and practice shaped the foundations of what Oasis was to become, from its beginnings in 1980 through to the end of his life in 2010.

This piece is taken from the Whole Person Learning manual, published by Oasis Press/GRLI Press, 2010. To find out more you can read about Bryce’s work and you can download a PDF of Whole Person Learning.

The Oasis Real Leaders programme launches in April 2018. If you are interested in exploring your leadership questions in your own context, developing yourself as a leader or developing leaders in your organisation, please take a look at the prospectus, email us or call us on 01937 541700 for a conversation about how we can help.