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.

9 comments

  1. […] like Adam Grant's take on healthy corporate culture and integrated leadership roles coming from public, private and social engagement. Balance — it's all about balance! How else can […]

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  2. Hello there! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be
    okay. I’m undoubtedly enjoying your blog and look forward to new updates.

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  3. […] talk a lot about leadership as a quality, authenticity as a source of effectiveness, and transformation as a kind of discernment. But we […]

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  4. […] leaders, if they sustain the heroic work of authenticity, become themselves differently over time. Authenticity is not an identity, it a discipline, a habit. In many ways, it is a spiritual practice. It is a way of being that […]

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  5. […] for employees. Then the requirements of leading and following will feel more authentic to everyone, because they’re something done (embodied) not something said (stuck in the […]

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

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  7. […] can be better leaders, and value intuition. Programs like the Flow Project do their part in this brave new world of integrative leadership. These opportunities to be creative, not just think creatively, extend the excellent creative […]

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