A report by Timotheus Rammelt on A report on “Leadership Matters”
a workshop held in Den Bosch, The Netherlands
In November 2018, a unique group of people came together in Den Bosch for a new leadership training series in Neohumanist form. We arrived in Den Bosch from Norway, Germany, England, Denmark, the Netherlands and Australia. Our covenant was the desire to grow as human beings and to grow in our leadership, each in their own way in an idealist domain. Many of us work in education and childcare. The form in which we met these four days was a journey through a workshop in 16 parts. Satya Tanner & Dr Marcus Bussey led this workshop series.
In this workshop, the spiritual dimension of leadership was essential on all layers. Because this element of leadership is often overlooked in training, this key element made a complete shift in Perspective, and in the “Look” and “Feel”. Consequently, this workshop brought in specific terms from the yogic tradition to stimulate reflection on leading. It also included daily meditation sessions to charge the days with a spiritual flow.
In each session, we switched between dancing, singing, contemplating, talking, listening, playing and performing solo or as a group. Only the unexpected was to be expected. In this way, the workshop was incomparable to any other study, practical or intellectual training.
What follows is a short description of the workshop in Den Bosch, some of the many harvested fruits and perspectives on “Leadership Matters” [LM].
The Workshop Series
Day 1 – Context
Day 2 – Tools
Day 3 – Style
Day 4 – The Calling
The Grammar – InterPlay
The Cosmic Story
Iista and Self Nurturance
Purpose and Service
Sadvipra as Holistic Leader
In the LM workshop series, we explored leadership as an art form. To guide our journey in Leadership, we came armed with a clear objective, an internal compass and a roadmap in the form of a written workbook that proved indispensable.
The workshop moved through four stages looking at leadership contexts, exploring tools for leading and for following, and recognising and understanding that our leadership style is key to facilitating strong, compassionate leading.
The workshop had a strong structure, building up to, and working towards an integration of all elements on day four. Finally, on the last day, we arrived at the calling of leadership in the 21st Century.
The alternation between pragmatic leadership expert and trainer Satya Tanner, and the philosopher, futurist and historian Marcus Bussey proved to be exceptionally rich in form and content, offering a big contrast in style expertise and insights, coming from a depth of personal experience.
Marcus Bussey’s thoughts on LM
When we gather with intention, something magic happens. This is what I felt when I joined Satya Tanner to co-lead the LM training. We worked with the participants and together, all of us, created a space in which we could explore our unique leadership styles. Authentic leading comes from that space within, where we find our spiritual footing in the world of action. Enspirited leading then requires that we become vulnerable, open and connected: both with the world, our fellow beings and with our inner self, too.
To work across these domains requires open and creative explorations beyond words. Culture eats strategy for breakfast – we all need to grow personal and collective cultures that are open, flexible, networked, inclusive and loving. This is why we did a lot of dancing, improvising and playing at the LM training – we needed to be opening ourselves to embodied leading that was joyful. We needed to explore what it means to take risks, be vulnerable, to respond to life’s leadership challenges lightly, as improvisation based on set values that enable and promote spiritual and life-affirming actions. So we danced, and then we sat and talked and explored a range of ideas, activities and aspirations, and then we danced again.
The result was four days of truly engaging, energising and inspiring collective self-exploration. We emerged with actions and goals unique to our situation. From little things, big things grow! That was one insight that we came away with. We will grow our leadership styles through making small but significant changes each day and being ready to take risks to lead, owning our mistakes, as no learning ever occurs without the right of trial and error. This means being open. Leading with heart.
“Empowering, inspiring and hopeful” are the first things that come to mind when I think about LM. I most loved the dancing and acting to step out of my comfort zone and show what I have to offer. My experience of flow in these four days was free, without judgement, inspiring and focused on the development and on seeing all the opportunities to do that. For me, the workshop was very much connected and relevant to where I am now and where I need to go. It helped me see in perspective what I am doing. It helped me to take a step back, see what I am doing and what I want to be doing. So that I can make a plan for how to get there.
The main things I learned are all the different examples of leadership and the insight into how leadership builds. These examples exposed me to how I could start to show more leadership in my work. This workshop really helped me to be more balanced, focused and clear in what is essential in my work. I feel the impact of that every day still.
Thoughts from Lisette
What a lovely group of people and trainers we had. I immediately felt “safe” with them. (And for me that is a vital condition for development and learning). Exceptional flow and beautiful openness towards each other!
Personally, the moments when we were invited to dance or otherwise to be involved in bodywork were most beyond my comfort zone. Those moments brought me the most value. I was so free to feel, that it did not matter to me what others thought when I danced, moved, and enjoyed myself! Wow, that’s an experience that flipped a mental switch, and I have to say; looking back it didn’t flip back anymore! I now can always return to that feeling of basic confidence in myself and my leadership. The feeling of tremendous potency; the feeling that encourages me to do more than I did. It’s good to get out of my comfort zone occasionally. … And that I invite others now to do the same (as a trainer).
This training had the most impact on me, compared to other training and workshops series I attended. It did so by combining doing, bodywork and theory, and certainly also by the down-to-earth mentality of both trainers.
This experience (workshop) helps me now as a leader to have even more guts by doing something exciting, relying on my knowledge and skill! As an example of the changes I made, I’m going to lead a Lotus leadership training! Challenging and exciting at the same time! LM helped me to be in touch with my strength in everything I do and carry out! And it helps me to show more of what I have to offer!
I had no expectations of LM, and to be frank, this way of learning was more helpful and better than I could have expected. LM was a very free workshop, unlike other classroom workouts that I have attended before. Compared to (workshops with) tables in tight rows, listening, receiving too much information and doing very little, LM was so much better!
I now have a new view of ‘beneficial’ leadership. By discussing the topics in groups, we learned a lot from each other. This discussion gave me a lot of new insights.
One of the things I learned is that a good leader is an example for others, without any self-interest. The leader gives a good example by doing, not by conducting. Working together is the key. By putting into practice what I have learned, I notice that I’m now doing much better than before.
From little things, BIG things grow. I learned that all the little things are needed to bring about significant changes. In LM I learned how to be a good leader in a constructive way, in which the importance of the Organization or group you lead is paramount. In everything we did, all together we made a lot of laughter, and there was a fun vibe in discussing, dancing and learning.
This workshop series has been a steep and enjoyable ride – but also a wolf in sheep’s clothes. Together we created a very safe space with the group, to share our truth and to enjoy our time together. Central for my journey was unlearning some of my beliefs and ways of doing.
To start with, on my first day, in the first session – just after the introduction – I recognised that my (belief and) definition of leadership was very narrow and false. My fixed idea about leadership was that it is very serious business… no fun in leading (for me). I even had to look serious and in earnest while leading. You can imagine I was thrilled to uncover this hidden unproductive belief.
Now I’m broadening my horizon with new work forms every day. Dancing through the room. Having fun, stretching my comfort zone and developing clarity on what matters with “Dance, Talk times three”. Telling fellow human beings about what I want to do in the world without holding anything back… that was spectacular.
Looking back, I have to say I enjoyed growing in LM. This enjoyment is unique because growing for me had previously always been with associated with some pain. “No pain, no gain…” was an uneasy truth in much of my growth. Growth derived mostly from my “Pusher-self”. When things were not working in my studies or work – push harder. No choice but the uneasy path of growth. Learning and growing in schools, therefore, was often unpleasant for me. Unlearning, expanding and developing in this workshop series – escaping my pusher self – has been a delightful and captivating ride!
Sources of hope were therefore many and varied during those days. Learning to cherish our first followers, love our second followers, and then we can indeed inspire a new movement. Learning to see we already arrived at the pinnacle of world transformation; instead of pushing for change. Learn to ride the wave.
LM came at the right moment for me and was served with precisely the right intensity. It helps me to escape from habitual business, and to focus on the right things with the appropriate action. I am moving away from Human Doing and towards Human Being. How to finally hack my life and my society – that’s my kind of question! Now going forward; hacking the future. The possibilities are endless as are the sources of hope for all of us.
“I want to say it’s time to get moving
but really, we are always moving
Along with atoms and stars and all that lies between
No, it’s time to move in other directions!”
Ending this article with the first part of a poem by Marcus Bussey, “It’s Time”, from his book of poetry and reflections, The Next Big Thing, I express my gratitude.