‘Leadership’ is a slippery concept. This is an account of one person’s phenomenological inquiry of trying to learn about it and from it. The paper will outline the initial assumptions I held when I simultaneously began both my PhD study and my role as a school Principal. I will trace how the search for meaning and understanding I pursued became personally transformational as I came to apply a phenomenological and hermeneutic perspective; how I imagined I had a sense of where that learning was headed only to discover it blazed an entirely different trail; and how the impact of all that on my practice was truly remarkable. My core interest is in how a phenomenological perspective may yield insight into lived experience of leading and may be of pragmatic use to leaders seeking to build their own capacity and the capacity of others.
The paper will propose that real leverage for leadership and tapping human potential resides in aligning the key mental models of all stakeholders in a co-constructed vision, through intentional, hermeneutical and phenomenological perspectives on leadership; with all members of the organisation respectfully engaged in making meaning from their lived experience through dialogue, coaching, personal purpose and aspiration.
|Keywords:||Leadership, Alignment, Vision, Mental Models, Systems Thinking, Practical Knowledge, Sustainable Change, Phenomenology, Hermeneutics|
Principal, Lilydale District School, Launceston, Tasmania, Australia