In today’s uncertain, complex and rapidly changing world, leadership requires a new mindset – one that acknowledges the interconnectedness of all aspects of life.

We’re living through a period of dramatic change, something that’s been happening for decades and is surely apparent to all of us now. We’re seeing the breakdown and disintegration of systems and structures; the questioning of the validity of societal institutions. The way we work and live continues to change, identity boundaries shift and (some) environmental issues are taking centre stage.

It won’t be enough to tinker with existing systems, we need to generate new ones that are ecological, really sustainable and regenerative for the planet and everyone and everything on it. This means building a circular economy which requires interconnected, creative and critical thinking that will make simple sense of the complexities of it all.

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Everything is hitched to everything else

John Muir, a naturalist influential in the development of Yosemite as a National Park, said: “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe,” expressing how our choices and actions affect everyone and everything around us. This is a great place to start.

Though everything feels shaky and uncertain at the moment – this upheaval is here to pave the way for a paradigm change. It’s a time of rebirth, not decline, though it might not feel like it, remember from the ashes the phoenix rises. For these changes to unfurl and grow we require a new type of leader.  

 

What is regenerative leadership?

Regenerative leadership, a concept rooted in the belief that everything is connected, offers a transformative approach to leadership. When we combine this with Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), the art of modelling excellence, regenerative leadership is even more impactful. By exploring the interconnectedness of our thoughts, emotions, physiology, behaviour, and the world around us, NLP empowers individuals to become more whole, self-aware, and effective leaders.

The old economic paradigm tended to focus on achieving as much profit in the shortest amount of time, which has often led to resources and people being exploited for high immediate gain. It’s a model that’s led us to where we are now, facing serious environmental degradation, social inequality, and economic instability.

On the other hand, regenerative leadership views organisations and individuals as part of a wider ecosystem that must act in harmony with it. This approach aims to restore, preserve, and enhance people, society and the environment together. It recognises that our world is built on relationships that evolve in cooperation. In other words we all rely on each other and everything else on the planet for our health and life.

A regenerative leader knows that an organisation as an entity can contribute to the well-being of the system or disrupt its dynamic balance. It’s less about competition and individualism and has more focus on a collaborative interdependent wholeistic approach, which incorporates equitable and sustainable outcomes for ALL.

And none of this is new! Traditional cultures have, for millennia, practised this way of living. Regeneration is the thread woven through indigenous wisdom traditions, philosophies, religions and communities across the world and over time. There is much we can learn from them.

How then to become a regenerative leader?

Regenerative Leadership involves the ability to manage complex ideas and deal with paradox. This is a way of thinking that’s not black or white as in “this or this” it’s considering that something is ‘this and this at the same time’. 

We can’t simply step into this role without doing the work involved. It requires us to look inside and do the deep work first, in order to affect the outside. It all starts with cleaning up our own mindset and cleaning up our act!  

 

6 ways NLP can help develop regenerative leaders

NLP provides a framework for understanding and influencing human behaviour. As said earlier, it explores the interconnectedness of our thoughts, language patterns, habits and behaviours. It helps us uncover the underlying factors that drive our actions – be they wanted or unwanted. Studying NLP fosters self-awareness, personal responsibility and internal control. As a model for successfully replicating excellence in any area it’s unparalleled.

1. Wholeness and self awareness

NLP emphasises the importance of self-awareness. This is the ability to observe our thoughts, emotions, and behaviours without judgement. This allows us to recognise patterns and triggers that influence our thinking, decision making and behaviour processes. Through understanding ourselves more fully, we’re able to make conscious choices that fully align with our values and goals.

2. Personal responsibility and self management

Regenerative leaders take personal responsibility for their actions and their impact on others and the environment. NLP has people recognise they are at cause for all their choices in life and enables people to manage their thoughts and emotions effectively. 

In learning techniques like anchoring and how to use language elegantly to reframe and negotiate, NLP equips leaders with tools to regulate their internal states and respond to challenges with resilience and composure.

3. Emotional intelligence and empathy

Emotional intelligence plays a crucial role in regenerative leadership. NLP helps with the development of emotional intelligence through fostering empathy and compassion towards others and oneself. In understanding the interconnected nature of our emotions and the emotions of those we lead, we can create more harmonious and inclusive work environments.

4. Less judgement, more connection

NLP teaches leaders to suspend judgement and approach situations with curiosity and openness. Rather than labelling experiences or individuals as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, leaders learn to recognise that everyone has unique and valid (for them) perspectives and motivations. This mindset promotes collaboration, creativity, and innovation.

5. Expanded thinking 

Through NLP, leaders expand their thinking to remove limiting beliefs and old preconceived notions. NLP helps you to challenge assumptions, explore new possibilities, and find innovative solutions to problems. 

As leaders become more self-aware, they can align their personal values with their leadership style, developing a sense of authenticity and integrity.

6. NLP treats everything as connected and interconnected. 

The development of NLP was influenced by several disciplines including cybernetics and systems thinking. One such person involved in this in the 1940’s was Gregory Bateson, an ecologist and anthropologist (amongst other things). He talked about the interconnectivity of everything and was interested in ‘the pattern which connects’. He was thinking regeneratively right back then.

The interconnectedness of everything and ecology and systems thinking has long fascinated me, ever since my days working at Windmill Hill City Farm in the adventure playground, hence why NLP appealed to me.

You can see how regenerative leadership and NLP sit together comfortably. They offer a compelling combination for those seeking to lead effectively and with purpose. Through embracing the interconnectedness of all things, regenerative leaders recognise that their actions have real consequences and affect the people and systems around them. 

Learning NLP engenders the thinking, tools and resilient mindset required for leaders to navigate this interconnectedness, hold a paradox in mind with ease and engender positive change in their organisations, families, communities, and the wider world. If you’d like to learn more, check out the course pages here on the website.