It’s Not What You Do, It’s Who You Are: The Experience of Embodied Leadership

Leadership expert and author Pete Hamill likes to compare leaders to top athletes. Both undergo rigorous training in order to become the best in their fields. Both want to push the boundaries of their profession and become the best.

Unlike in the sports world, however, where athletes typically become better and better at their game, the field of leadership rarely sees performance-boosting results from its training. Things just stay kind of…flat. Why? Because leadership training programs are slow to embrace new research in the field, and training programs simply present models and frameworks. There’s no practice, Hamill argues, like the experience athletes have—no real-world embodiment of leadership principles. So when new leaders return to the field, they find themselves lost in the inevitable chaos of organizational life.

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