Your way to leadership

Intention: The intention of this task is to find your own way towards leading and leadership. In a sense, we have been doing that for a while now. Thinking, reflecting, asking questions and interacting with others. Developing a more conscious learning process where we actively test out new tools, strategies, and ways of being. Use these valuable reflections and experiences in this task.

A second intention for this task is to learn from your peers. We are to create a brutally honest space where we can present our theories and learn from each other.

Desired Outcome:

In this exercise, we are going to try to put aside our current views about what leadership should be, and rather try to find a way to phrase it from the current situation and context you are in and then present it for the rest of the group.

Meaning that you try to define your own leadership theory, based on who you are, your current situation/context and what you would like to do moving forward. If you are to create a leadership theory/philosophy for yourself, that would practically serve you moving forward, what would it look like? Going through this process eventually leads to the awareness of who you are as a leader, your leadership-self if you like.


Individually + everyone


Group+ Stage-area


Pen, paper A3+A4, computer,





Background: There is no recipe for good leadership that you can learn, except one: find your own way to leadership. You are first going to be a good leader when you have worked your way through the management tools out there and you find your own way to leadership. Many of us have learned more about life than we are aware of and exercising leadership is a discipline where we can afford to spend much more of ourselves and who we are. Forget all theories and stories of leadership as something heroic, big, mysterious and charismatic; leadership is practiced (mostly) by ordinary people who have good and bad days, who are worried, who work hard, who occasionally struggle with poor self-esteem, who sometimes feel alone, do things they regret, make decisions they do not always see the consequences of - but who despite all of this try to do a good job. Leaders are not heroes, they are common people like you and me. Common people who want to make a difference - by taking responsibility.

Some scholars define leadership as a process, focused on achieving goals through others; the influence of other people through different varieties of power combined with the responsibility of delivering on goals. A broad definition lays the ground for different theories, approaches, and views. These include personal- , strategic- , administrative- ideological- , situational-, emotional-, authentic, transformational- , relational- , operational management , and many, many more.

In this program, however, we will not touch upon most of these theories. We view, work with and practice leadership on a practical, operational and personal level.



Solo work (30min): Use this time to create a leadership theory/philosophy for yourself. It should reflect on who you are, current situations and the road ahead. Obstacles that you see in your path and the tools you have at your disposal. Try to view yourself from a meta-perspective through the exercise, it could be useful to even talk about yourself in third-person. Guiding questions: Include and/or try to answer the following questions in your presentation: -Why do you actually want to become a leader? -What kind of impact would I like to have on the people around me, and why is this important for others and myself? -What kind of strengths and weaknesses do I bring into my leadership? -What kind of strategies do I have to develop and practice to be able to lead others?


Call (at least) three colleagues/friends (15min): Ask them what they think your leadership strengths and weaknesses are.


In group (60min):

Each person goes through their presentation on a stage. Gather around and make sure to foster a safe but honest environment for the ones that are going to present at the stage. Based on how much time you have available, you can split into groups of 10, 20 or 30.


Keith Grint, Owain SmolovicΒ΄ Jones, and Clare Holt, "What Is Leadership? Person, Result, Position, Purpose or Process, or All or None of These?," The Routledge Companion to Leadership, 2017.) LINK

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