Practical Leadership

One of my graduate Personal Mastery students wrote a paper about embodied leadership in which he said it is equally important to know about practical leadership as theoretical leadership. His comment put me in touch with my own quest for what worked.

Years ago when I was doing management and leadership development in organizations, I became aware that what we as a field were doing wasn’t working. In fact, Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) did research on what actually developed leaders and they found that certain kinds of experience developed senior managers, experiences where there was hardship or taking on assignments that provided leaps in scope to name two.

My quest took me to graduate school for research and a PhD on what did work. After my degree I spent time researching the newest ideas in teaching/learning. So today I guess I’ve settled on the practical.

Developing disciplined practices that keep a leader centered and grounded be it meditation or martial arts like Aikido or any endeavor that preserves the mind/ body connection is one key. Another is being clear about one’s purpose and vision and another is being aware of internal and external languages to be able to challenge deeply held assumptions in ourselves and others. These are exercises in practical leadership. Ones we rarely make the time to explore. Skills that underlie the experiences found in the CCL research on developing leaders.


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