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Lead for the Planet

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Lead for the Planet

Five Practices for Confronting Climate Change

University of Toronto Press,

15 min read
6 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Private-sector and governmental leaders can work against climate change.

Editorial Rating



  • Controversial
  • Scientific
  • Applicable


The consequences of global warming threaten the planet, but so far the response has been a patchwork of discrete initiatives that often dissolve amid competing interests. Professor Rae André asserts that fashioning a coherent global response will require the emergence of “systemic leaders” who can motivate disparate sectors of society to commit to a common goal. In this thorough but nontechnical manual, she shows how leaders can communicate the latest scientific findings to others, motivate people through a mix of logic and emotion, and promote problem-solving innovation through cooperation and competition. She explains how your organization can make a difference.


Responding to the threat of climate change will require “systemic leadership” that pursues five practices.

The leaders who will guide humanity toward a sustainable future must have a firm understanding of the science of climate change and the psychology of people acting in groups. So far, leaders have emphasized the climate-science part of the equation, since they first needed to persuade people that climate change was real.

Going forward, effective leaders will embrace a systemic approach that focuses on behavior within societal organizations. They need to inspire organizations to act and persuade different sectors of society to collaborate on a global scale. Climate leaders should adopt five practices of systemic leadership. These strategies combine social science research with leaders’ observations of organizational – and individual – decision-making. The five practices are:

Leaders must learn and share climate change facts.

Leaders need to understand the scientific truth about climate change and share it in light of their insights into how ...

About the Author

Rae Andrè is professor emeritus of leadership and sustainability at Northeastern University’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business. She has authored several books including Positive Solitude: A Practical Program for Mastering Loneliness and Achieving Self-Fulfillment; Organizational Behavior: An Introduction to Your Life in Organizations; and Homemakers: the Forgotten Workers.

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