Opinion

Lightspeed’s Dax Dasilva on How Strong Leadership Can Lead To Global Change

Written by Dax Dasilva

Dax Dasilva’s new book, Age of Union: Igniting the Changemaker, is an impassioned call for leadership, spirituality, and environmental guardianship. It speaks to the immediate need for global change and how our choices are the catalyst, while providing a framework—grounded in four pillars: leadership, culture, spirituality and nature—for changemakers to help spark a better tomorrow. Here he shares his insights.

The first pillar of the Age of Union—my vision for what I call unseparation in a fractured world—is leadership.

Leadership unlocks the potential for individuals to be agents of change in ways both large and small, so that we can become the impactful change-makers that the world needs now. Every one of us can create change and make a difference in the world; it’s a matter of igniting the flame within.

Leadership comes in many forms; every person is different and therefore has the potential to contribute something uniquely meaningful to this world.Great change all starts with the power of individuals to articulate their passion and cause ripples, and then waves of change. Everyone has the potential to see themselves as unique leaders or people of influence, and we need to harness and nurture a sense of leadership in individuals at every stage of life’s journey.

Strong leaders actively listen, communicate and build energy around their vision, they create seats at the table for different perspectives, share ownership and drive people towards results-oriented outcomes, develop a community of allies, and bring the right people into the fold. Being a strong leader is also about making difficult decisions using both wisdom and faith—decision making also requires a willingness to fail, and a readiness to find new solutions constructively. It involves creating a positive work culture for a project, and being a role model in how one leads and acts.  

As the founder of Lightspeed, a tech company which today employs over 800 bright minds, I built the original software and then evolved as a leader through every stage of the company, reinventing my role year upon year to best serve our people and mission. Each reinvention of my role was at first uncomfortable, yet necessary in order for us to grow. As the company grew, it became important for me to distribute ownership among my team and instill leadership in them so that I can share the responsibility—celebrating their successes and our common achievements while also supporting them fully when faced with failure.

There is a stereotype in our culture of what a leader must look like. Collectively, we need to broaden our narrow notions of leadership to embrace its many styles and faces, and work to elevate different voices, which I also feel I’ve accomplished as the founder of Never Apart, a cultural non-profit. Leadership diversity means more creativity, ingenuity, and ability in our world to help us reach a more inclusive, unified age. A visionary leader mobilizes people toward an idea, a coaching leader develops people for the future, an affirmative leader creates emotional bonds and harmony, a democratic leader builds consensus through participation, and a pacesetting leader sets an example of excellence and self-direction. 

Difference can be a teacher rather than a source of fear or division, and different perspectives will create different solutions. Furthermore, true leaders create leaders. Being impactful does not have to mean amplifying one’s own voice above a great many—in our daily actions and conversations, in our explorations of paths toward change, and in our encouragement of others, we must find ways to nurture the leadership of others and become drivers of change. As leaders, we must be curious about others and reach out for diverse viewpoints, which, in return, will make our ideas richer, our understanding deeper, and our opinions more nuanced. Diverse and collective leadership will allow us to craft a world that reflects our deeper aspirations.

 

Age of Union: Igniting the Changemaker is available for purchase at Indigo.