Organizational Consultation XXXI: The Appreciative Leader: From A Traditional Perspective
Teilhard and Eisler offer us rich, provocative food for thought, especially when their ideas are linked with processes of appreciation. The notion of appreciative leadership as synthesis and partnership is truly radical. Yet the seeds for an appreciative model of leadership have already been sown in the mundane and daily experiences of many contemporary leaders.
A man I know who heads a successful gourmet coffee company talks about sitting in his office and knowing exactly what is happening throughout his company as a function of the sounds he hears through the wall and the smell of the coffee being produced. He doesn’t know exactly how he is able to gain this appreciative sense of the company’s overall health at any one point in time, but firmly believes that this unifying sense of his company is essential to his leadership role in this organization.
Another leader suggests that she appreciates the overall, coherent intentions and dynamics of the school she heads when she serves in the role of teacher. To be a leader she needs to get out of her office and head into a classroom. Like the coffee maker, she can sense and fully appreciative the quality of education in her school only by participating directly in this educational process as a teacher and co-learner. When she is not teaching, the school often seems to lose it’s unity for her and she feels out of touch with its essential properties.
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