A call for embodied leadership: article published in Integral Leadership Review

My article, “Leadership is a Lived Story,” a call for supporting soul resilience as part of leadership development, was just published in the Integral Leadership Review!

My core argument is this: Western cultural leadership norms are all about the individual’s achievement, charisma and identity. We tend to think of our performance as a reflection of our personal thoughts and values, not an integral part of communities of shared responsibility. Our leaders learn to deny their physical and spiritual well-being and over-develop their minds and egos.

Grounded leaders can manage change with greater agility

“Embodiment and healthy change go hand in hand; the performative aspects of our shifting identities cannot be abstracted without reducing our human relationships to shallow exchange and reward networks, markers of motivation in temporary adaptation. Long-term change happens because leaders can listen, observe, and activate relational processes to carry the shockwave of change with a minimum of trauma. That happens when a leader has evolved from what I call a “head on a stick”, locked into practiced consistent actions, the exhausting performance of a unitary self, and motivational charisma.” (Read more…)

Integrated mind, body and spirit means effective transformational leaders, because they move beyond charisma or role model leadership into integrated and energized collaboration.

I call this ability to manage change “radical embodiment:”

“Once we align our [personal] stories and bodies with the intention of transforming a whole system, we have access to something that Western culture too often reduces to the seductive and persuasive quality of charisma. The more authentically embodied a leader becomes, the greater the potential that s/he can begin to move beyond charisma to express the creative energy Buddhists call ki or prana, Hawaiians call mana, and the Kalahari Bushmen call n/om. The quality of fullness and presence in this energy permeates the whole person by grounding and expanding inner wisdom and clarity, while strengthening connections between a leader and her community. With deepened energetic connection and integration of the levels of being through healthy embodiment, anyone can develop transformative leadership qualities. It is a practical result of radical embodiment.” (Read more…)

At its heart, my argument is that authenticity with true aloha supports sustainable change and resiliency: leadership with spirit, skill and energized, embodied intelligence.


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  6. […] A call for embodied leadership: article published in Integral Leadership Review […]


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