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The Integral Psychology of Leadership

How we think shows through in how we act. Attitudes are mirrors of the mind. They reflect thinking – David Joseph Schwartz


Integral+Leadership is the system that reveals the psychology behind the most effective leaders in the world, including how they engage people, in the way they lead  (self-actualise) themselves.



You can’t lead another, unless you are leading yourself. That includes your attitude, beliefs, values, identity, your thinking patterns, your actions and behaviours, clarity of voice, as well as clarity about where you are going (vision) and why it is important to achieve that (purpose/intention).


Leading Others

When you lead people, you inevitably work from many assumptions and beliefs about people. Leading people entails your ideas about what people are like, what they want, their nature, what you can expect of them, why they are following you, and so on.

Thus your leading is full of unspoken premises in the back of your mind about human psychology, assumptions about human nature, human drives and needs, human hopes and dreams, and human communications and relationships. This means that when you lead, your leadership is not neutral and cannot be neutral. This is why the first task of professional development for a leader is to get your attitude right – but what is ‘right’?


Self-Actualising Leaders

Jim Collins discovered that great companies that last have high quality leaders (“level 5 leaders”) who have the will (determination, commitment) and humility (a vision beyond their ego, it’s not about them) to facilitate a group of people to become “the best in the world” with their core competencies. It takes time, and patience, and determination, and vision, and a set of values so that with every turn of the giant wheel momentum is built. And because it is a shared vision, they are able to do so much more than any single person can do individually. In the executive coaching world, we call these Self-Actualising leaders and creating a self-actualised leader is the primary goal of an executive coach.

Self-actualising leaders know that leadership is not about them. Leadership is about the people, the vision, and the future. So they hold a two-fold focus. First, they focus on the required performances (skills, competencies) that are absolutely necessary to achieve the vision. They focus on results—on implementation, on execution, on people being able to do and contribute. Unlike bureaucrats, it’s not about passing time, crossing every t or dotting every i. It is about creating and innovating effective results. Second, they focus on the meaningfulness of those performances. The results and skills must be significant, inspirational, and meaningful for the people carrying them out.


When meaning meets performance, the result is engagement.

When meaningfulness meets performance, the result is engagement. People are engaged. People are completely and delightfully engaged. They are the right person for the job and are able to actualise their best potentials in that job, and they want even more professional development.

When meaningfulness doesn’t meet performance i.e. there is a strong focus on performance but no connection to anything significant or meaningful, or there is an abundance of meaningfulness and significance in the job but no actual performance or output, the result is dis-engagement. And where there is dis-engagement, people are bored and impatient. They feel out-of-alignment with themselves and the company and so they are just barely there in mind and heart, even if they are punched in on the time card. And when you have that, no amount of professional development will help, and retention will then be a major problem.


Self-Actualising Leaders create Self-Actualising Cultures

Self-actualising leaders create self-actualising cultures by taking the role of being the teams very own developmental coach and finding ways to activate the powers of their people— their mental powers (I.Q.), their emotional powers (E.Q.), and their behavioural powers. And with these powers, they tap into their spiritual (or inspirational) powers (S.Q.).

And what happens then? Well, most of the problems associated with disengagement disappear — motivational problems, problems of resistance, rigidity, refusal to change, secrecy, underhanded competition, power relationships, etc. Now the secrets of a self-actualised organisation will more easily emerge— team spirit, creativity and innovation, openness to change initiatives, people taking responsibility, people looking for and enjoying feedback, etc.



The Coaching Room’s Integral+Leadership™ approach to Development unlocks capacities and the innate wisdom of the Leader, needed to Lead themselves, their followers, industry and the stakeholders of today, effectively and successfully into a vibrant and flourishing tomorrow. Ready to know more? Download the brochure below…


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