"In the West we tend to think of leadership as a quality that exists in certain people. This usual way of thinking has many traps. We search for individuals with leadership potential, rather than developing the leadership potential in everyone. We are easily distracted by what this or that leader is doing, by the melodrama of people in power and others trying to wrest it from them. When things are going poorly, we blame the situation on incompetent leaders, thereby avoiding any personal responsibility. When things become desperate, we can easily find ourselves waiting for a great leader to rescue us. Through all of this, we totally miss the bigger question: 'What are we, collectively, able to create?'
Leadership exists when people are no longer victims of circumstances but participate in creating new circumstances ... That is the real gift of leadership. It is not about positional power; it is not about accomplishments; it is ultimately not even about what we do. Leadership is about creating a domain in which human beings continually deepen their understanding of reality and become more capable of participating in the unfolding of the world.
Ultimately, leadership is about creating new realities… Most of us aren't very good at perceiving reality as it is. Most of what we "see" is shaped by our impressions, our history, our baggage and our preconceptions. We can't see people as they really are because we are too busy reacting to our own internal experiences of what they invoke in us, so we rarely actually relate to reality. We mostly relate to internal remembrances of our own history, stimulated and evoked by whatever is externally before us... If we could only see reality more as it is, it would become obvious what we need to do. We wouldn't be acting out of our own histories, or our own needs, or our own purely reactive interpretations. We would see what is needed in the moment. We would do exactly what is required of us, right now, right here."
Senge then ends by quoting Einstein: "The world we have created is a product of our way of thinking."