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Steve Kempster, Arthur F. Turner and Gareth Edwards

In this opening chapter we seek to address three purposes. First we outline the focus of the field guide book – experiential learning. Experiential learning in leadership development has been dominated by outdoor (and indoor) activities such as the spiders’ web. However, the ability of such activities to capture the complexity of leadership practice is rather restricted. We explore this point and suggest there is much need for alternative experiential processes that are more suited to the development of leadership practice. Second we outline the chapters of the book that provide a spectrum of approaches that have been developed and tested in the ‘field’ of leadership development. All of the approaches are fundamentally aligned to advancing leadership practice through reflection. Third the chapter seeks to illustrate a style of writing that is commensurate with a field guide. We seek to be direct and engaging; rooted in theoretical arguments yet accessible and connected to everyday practice; provocative and reflexive. The chapter concludes by arguing for reflection and practice to become an essential part of organizational leadership. To that end we offer up the notion of the ‘leadership practice field’ and pose the question ‘how can we enable those who lead to practise leading’.

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Steve Kempster, Eric Guthey and Mary Uhl-Bien

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Scott J. Allen, Arthur J. Schwartz and Daniel M. Jenkins

No amount of talking about leadership will help someone get better at the activity of leading others. We agree with this text’s premise of the “lived experience of leadership.” (See Chapter one). Leadership is like debate, football, cooking or any other learned activity. If your goal is to develop the requisite knowledge and skills of leaders, cognitive understanding is only one ingredient for success. In this chapter, we explore a new and innovative approach to developing leadership via the Collegiate Leadership Competition (CLC). The purpose of CLC is to create a dynamic leadership practice field where students (and their coaches) can apply what they are learning in a context that challenges and stretches them to the boundaries of their knowledge, skills, and abilities. This chapter highlights CLC’s approach to developing leadership capacity in students via the tenets of deliberate practice and concludes with key reflections and insights.

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Fiona Kennedy and Ralph Bathurst

This chapter describes a general approach and a specific activity for introducing managers to the leadership work of framing. This can be difficult terrain because the practice of framing encounters managers’ very different beliefs about the nature of reality and the social world. This chapter offers a way of maintaining openness and interest in learning while engaging with material that runs the risk of creating defensiveness and shutting learning down! The general approach and framing activity are illustrated by drawing on the experience of a manager in a leadership programme.

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Beverley Hawkins and Gareth Edwards

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Stewart Barnes, Sue Smith and Steve Kempster

This chapter uses the dynamic of being a non-executive director (NED) as a process for leadership development. Context here is significant. The participants are owner-managers of growing businesses. Their context is demanding but also isolating from the lifeblood of leadership development – a variety of contexts, a variety of ‘leaders’ to observe and a variety of demanding inter-personal challenges. The process we explore in this chapter is that leadership learning can be enabled by participating in a peer learning community as a NED. We theorize the development of a NED through the lens of communities of practice. In particular, we look at how a community of owner-managers collectively shape their practice, their capacity and confidence through engagement in a year long journey as non-executive directors.

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Emma Watton and Philippa Chapman

This chapter highlights the use of a leadership artefacts activity as an ice-breaker exercise for newly formed groups. We have used this approach to great effect with learners engaged on programmes designed to create sustainable and responsible leadership within organisations. The nature and role of artefacts in leadership lived experience is examined. The revelations for participants of how personal artefacts can catalyse reflective insight into leadership practice is explored. We hope the chapter will serve as good practice and that it will be of interest to practitioners in customising and applying it to other leadership development programmes.

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Jon Billsberry and Carolyn P. Egri

Videography is an ideal tool for leadership development as it involves interpersonal leadership of and participation with fellow filmmakers and acting talent as well as keen observation and management of human behaviour to create strong depictions of leadership for the audience. Moreover, videographic methods deny the definitive learning outcome of ‘making someone a leader’ as inherent in the approach is the notion of ‘multiple readings of films’ and a sense of engagement with a process of discovery. Instead, videography gives participants an opportunity to explore and express their leadership as part of their own leadership journey. Videography is particularly powerful because of the intense and creative journey and the how the emergent artefacts fosters retention of ideas, experiences, and lessons.

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Andrew Armitage

Morgan (2010) in What Poetry Brings to Business explores the deep but unexpected connections between business and poetry, and the emotional power, and communicative complexity that poetry brings to organisations. In order address innovation and problem solving, allowing leaders to deal with organisational complexity in a more creative manner, and also providing them with the ability to empathise with and understand the thoughts and feelings of others. Poetry can thus facilitating the develop of imaginative solutions, and dealing with chaotic environments. Poetry empowers individuals to carefully attend to context and settings, and offer a route to explore and challenge established truths, and the hidden worlds of leadership that often go unsaid in the milieu of normal conversation. As such, this chapter seeks to develop the use of poetry in leadership development programmes as a stimulus for reflexive dialogue in order to examine leadership practice with particular attention to care ethics.

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Jonathan Gosling and Simon Western

This chapter describes how leaders learn from difference, learn from each other and learn from practice through a ‘leadership exchange’ - a reciprocal research programme in which participants receive orientation to reflexive methods, training in observation skills, and then partner up to shadow each other for three days, before being debriefed and coached to deepen the learning from this experience. We developed the method on an executive masters program in the late 1990’s. Since then it has been successfully deployed on a large scale in global post-merger integrations, customised organisation development interventions, in Masters of Arts (MA) and open executive programmes, and as part of personalised coaching. It therefore contributes to a broad array of applications including research training, leadership formation and organisational development. To explore how it works, and why some distinctive features are important, we utilise psychoanalytic insights into unconscious processes such as ‘pairing’, containment and voyeurism; and systems psychodynamic concepts of role, task and boundaries.