Evolving Leadership for a Sustainable Future

Photo Credit: Brian Luke Seaward

Photo Credit: Brian Luke Seaward

In these uncertain times of unprecedented environmental, economic, social, and political change, the world needs hopeful and helpful guidance on how to chart a future of global sustainability and collective wellbeing. Beyond asking why the changes are happening to us, we have the opportunity to ask why they are happening for us. In other words, how are we being compelled to evolve our leadership, and who are we being called to become?

“The future of humanity and of our planet lies in our hands.”

History was made when world leaders stepped up and pledged unifying commitments to secure a sustainable future “where all life can thrive” by adopting the United Nations’ Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Designed by the collective intelligence and diverse inputs from grassroots to government, the 2030 Agenda is a brilliant plan that emboldens local to global engagement and supports aligned momentum throughout the world. Now, we the people ― the world’s individuals, organizations, and communities that have been championing the shared vision of a sustainable future ― need access to the best leadership guidance available to build on the successes of past efforts and advance breakthrough progress.
In response, the forthcoming edited volume Evolving Leadership for a Sustainable Future: A Path to Collective Wellbeing will provide that guidance in the form of a useful resource designed to heighten leadership effectiveness through access to vanguard theory and practice. Divided into (1) local, (2) regional or national, and (3) international sections, the collection will highlight stories and insights from leadership practitioners and scholars around the world and offer invaluable lessons, models, and practices upon which to draw. Case and place-based chapters will bridge theory and practice to empower diverse actors around the world.
Humanity is in an urgent yet hopeful time, faced with the opportunity to lead the transformation of our world by translating our vision of what we know is possible into a global reality. It is evident, as articulated in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, that, “The future of humanity and of our planet lies in our hands.… It will be for all of us to ensure that the journey is successful and its gains irreversible.”



We hope that you will join us in fulfilling the potential and promise of a world that works for all. If you are interested in contributing to this high-impact volume, please submit by May 1st a brief concept paragraph between 250 and 500 words (submission details below) that explains how your chapter will help answer the guiding question:
How do we evolve our leadership and bring out the best of our diverse humanity to ensure a sustainable future?
In addition to your paragraph, please briefly answer the following questions in bulleted list format:

  1. Title: What is your draft chapter title?
  2. Approach: What case studies, research, and/or viewpoints do you intend to highlight to help answer the guiding question about how to bring out the best of our diverse humanity and evolve our leadership to ensure a sustainable future? And in which section (local, national/regional, global) do you see your chapter best fitting?
  3. SDGs: Which Sustainable Development Goal(s), which include the Paris Climate Change Treaty targets, do you see your chapter best demonstrating or serving? Please note that we have attached the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development for reference, and the SDGs are summarized on page 18. You also can reference: http://unsdsn.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/151211-getting-started-guide-FINAL-PDF-.pdf
  4. Findings: Briefly identify the key insights or take-aways that you envision would be of highest benefit to all readers.
  5. Implications and applications: Briefly describe those whose circumstances or leadership would most benefit from the leadership practice and theory presented in your chapter.
  6. Keywords: List up to 6 keywords and/or key phrases that reflect the main topic(s) that your chapter will address. For example: Pacific Islands, refugee crisis, social entrepreneurship, regenerative agriculture, restorative leadership, critical leadership studies.

Below are a variety of reflective prompts that may help you conceptualize your chapter. It is not required to respond directly to any of these.
Identifying Your Insights:

  • What are the most important and relevant lessons, models, and best practices to draw upon at this time in history?
  • What leadership practice and theory can you share to guide individuals, organizations, communities, and governments to advance a sustainable future for all?
  • What can we learn from the successes and failures featured in your chapter?
  • What does your example of leadership theory and practice tell us about how to “move those furthest behind first,” and the value in doing so?
  • What does it take to lead for positive intergenerational impact?

Applying Your Insights

  • What lessons from local, regional, national, or international transformation highlighted in your chapter can be applied broadly by various organizations and initiatives?
  • What can be applied to activate our ecosystems, in other words mobilize diverse networks, around this shared vision for a sustainable future?
  • What can we learn from relevant leadership practice and theory to fulfill the promises of the 2030 Agenda to hold the increase in global average temperature well below 2.0 degrees C of pre-industrial levels, and “to heal and secure our planet” while freeing the human race from “the tyranny of poverty”
  • What does leadership practice and theory tell us about what it will take to accomplish the level of norm change needed?
  • What will it take to create the conditions for success given where we are and are not globally at this time?

Please send your submission by May 1st to Seana@restorative-leadership.org, with a copy to dderuyver@ila-net.org. All proposals will be reviewed by June 1st, and selected chapters of up to 6,000 words will be due by November 15th, 2017.
Thank you for your inspired engagement in this work, and for your interest in helping to accomplish humanity’s ultimate challenge and opportunity ― charting a sustainable future of collective wellbeing.

Evolving Leadership for a Sustainable Future: A Path to Collective Wellbeing

By S. Steffen, with S. Rappaport and S. Trevenna (Eds.) Forthcoming. Bingley, United Kingdom: Emerald Group Publishing.

A book in the International Leadership Association Series, Building Leadership Bridges