Leading with Leverage: Transforming Organisations by Engaging the Passions and Aspirations of Stakeholders

By Greg Morgan.

Published by Organizational Cultures: An International Journal

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

‘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

Organizational Cultures: An International Journal, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp.103-113. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 357.630KB).

Dr. Greg Morgan

Principal, Lilydale District School, Launceston, Tasmania, Australia

While the research he has studied applies generically to all organisations, Greg Morgan’s experience is specifically as principal of Lilydale District School in Tasmania. He is currently engaged in a hermeneutic inquiry as part of a PhD study on leadership. His interest is in how people in an organisation work and learn together in pursuit of their personal and common aspirations. His work has explored the leverage provided by aligned vision, mental models, and systemic structures for strengthening teachers’ practice and raising student learning outcomes. He believes that rather than being a style or set of behaviours or characteristics, effective leadership is essentially about influence in relationships. At a time when the world “out there” is more enamoured than ever of quantitative data, he is keenly interested in how qualitative data and genuine dialogue can influence “performance”. When he’s not working or studying, a favourite indulgence is to wrangle with Southern Bluefin Tuna off the wild coast of Tasmania.