During the 1940’s, Harvard sociologist Pitirim Sorokin argued that industrial societies needed to transform themselves by developing a more integrated, holistic, and systemic approach to the world – what he called creative altruism.
He discussed the idea that there is a part of the brain that is programmed for altruism. He discussed this way before we had any of the sophisticated technology to look at how our brains really work. Through recent studies in neuropsychology we are coming close to what Sorokin stated, even though he was judged as way too out there for the academic community of his time.
Perhaps we have needed this economic downturn to see the benefits of team collaboration, of doing for others, that rest in the realm of helping each other rather than staying so darned focused on the competitive edge. Dan Pink, in his book “A Whole New Mind” discusses the needs of leaders for this time, the conceptual age. He points out “The future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind – creators and empathizers, pattern recognizers, and meaning makers.
Sounds like the work women are cut out to lead. The future is here, and we need this kind of creative altruism if we are going to move to a world where our children can learn to help and serve. As women, we have a different way of thinking about conflict resolution; with concepts and ideas rather than fists and guns. We can be the leaders to get to the parts of the brain that make us feel good by doing well.
It is our time and all leadership development programs require a focus on how we can help and stay with the premise that we are all in it together and no one wins unless we all do. That’s women’s work for the 21st Century!
Last night on Dateline, Ann Curry reported on a family, a town, and altruism. I strongly recommend you check out how a group of people came together in spite of their own personal difficulties and in helping others found a better part of themselves. This is the good in a bad economy.