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The Ark of Leadership: A First Sample Chapter

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The Ark of Leadership: An Integrative Perspective

By William Bergquist, Jeannine Sandstrom and Agnes Mura

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Chapter 6

Leadership on the Ark (I): The Context and Setting

A central tenant of an appreciative perspective on leadership is recognition and understanding of the complex situations in which leaders find themselves. Different approaches to leadership and decision-making must be taken in different situations—to not only address a specific organizational issue but also provide a container for the anxiety associated with issue and a process of metabolism that converts the anxiety into thoughtful action.

In this chapter we reintroduce the five Best Practices of Chapter One, along with the styles of leadership that were presented in Chapters Three and Four. As we have already noted, each of the Best Practices competencies and styles of leadership is aligned with quite different notions about the purposes, functions and values associated with making decisions in today’s organizations.  They also introduce different ways of managing anxiety under difficult circumstances.

The Leadership Preference Residing Inside Peter Armentrout’s Head and Heart

More complex issues emerge as the coaching sessions continue between Peter and Catherine Townsend. Some of these issues concern the storm that is swirling around not in the environment but instead inside Peter. The internal storm intensifies as he prepares to address even greater challenges in his work life (and even his personal life as he prepares for retirement). A guru in Western Canada speaks of the Delicate conditions to be found in our mid-21st Century psyche. Peter certainly is faced with some delicacy regarding how he works on his internal context with the guidance and assistance of Catherine Townsend. Once again, this is executive coaching and not psychotherapy. Anxiety and fears (as well as hopes) are factors to be consider—not mental health issues to be resolved. Executive coaching is about care and consideration rather than cure. It is about the very important and tangible exercise of appropriate and inappropriate use of–or excessive reliance on—specific leadership styles or Best Practices. We are looking ultimately for effective performance not healed hearts and minds.

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