From Antiquity to the New Common Era
New Horizons in Leadership Studies series
Chapter 1: Introductory remarks about leaders and leadership
Leadership is one of the most observed and least understood phenomena on earth. James McGregor Burns Our world is in crisis. In this era of restructuring and reshuffling the world order, when values and priorities are reconsidered, and the globe is becoming truly ‘global’, there is a desperate need, and demand, for leaders and managers with a perspective that goes beyond parochial, national and even regional boundaries to encompass emerging international urgencies. I call our times The New Common Era because, I feel, it resembles the original one, that of the early Christian world, which encompassed the diverse geographical areas of the Mediterranean basin, Asia Minor and Roman Europe. As in those days, ours are rapidly becoming truly interdependent and interconnected. The original Common Era related to a time and place that redefined the basis of our civilization and gave it its characteristic Western feel, borrowing and merging the values from Judaeo-Christianity and the Graeco-Roman world. The outcome was the replacement of old Rome by its politico-religious successor, the Catholic Church, that eventually split into the Western (Roman-dominated) lands of Europe and the Eastern theocratic Byzantine Empire. Those initial divisions continued to split and subdivide geographically, ideologically, politically and culturally over the ensuing centuries down to the present day, which is characterized, again, by pluralism and multiculturalism. Subsequently we are reaching a state of new unification as a result of technological advances, economic interdependence and the necessity to share resources.