Leadership: A Mirror to the Soul

Good leadership is cultivated in the soil of self-understanding.

Measuring a person's leadership performance can be a vague business, often veering near the ridiculous, much like overwrought evaluations of wine by connoisseurs: bold, but lacking sophistication; tart, yet without staying power; spicy, with a hint of charm. What exactly are we measuring when we measure leadership performance?

Leadership is often evaluated by the mastery of certain core competencies – how well we organize, administrate, motivate – or the net result of our efforts – the growth of the financial bottom line or the expansion of an organization. We shouldn't discard these important metrics, but we all know from our own experience that leadership is too complex to be reduced to boxes checked off on an evaluation form.

Excellent leadership demands serious inner work.

I began thinking about this after a Gateway retreat I attended in September through the Center for Courage and Renewal. CCR grew out of the work that Parker Palmer and his colleagues started with educators more than ...

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