Leadership Arts and AestheticsLearning and Development

Study Unit 10 – Activities
Rana Barazi
27 July 2022

Leadership Aesthetics
• ‘sensory knowledge and felt meaning in relation to objects and
experiences’ (Hansen and Bathurst, 2011)
– in recognition of the complex, ambiguous and uncertain nature of organisations
(Wheatley, 1994) there is a need to:
=> engage with the mind and with the body and emotions
=> transform our understanding through a stronger focus on sensory experiences
and sense-making (Hansen and Bathurst, 2011)
=> accept and deal with this environment and find ways of working with it
• Non-logical activities enable people to solve problems and enact their
potentials
– Accessing intuitions, feelings, stories, improvisation, experience, imagination, active
listening, awareness in the moment, novel words and empathy

The Art of Leadership

• Leverage aesthetic experiences that engage actively with complexity and
ambiguity in leadership and organisations
• Breaking free from the dominant traditional views of managers and leaders
as rational, powerful and in control
• Requires a more critical understanding and practice where critical self-
reflection and self-transformation are a core part of the emancipatory
process
• Seen as a relational process of ongoing sense-making of self and others

Traditional Evaluative Methods

• Competency and Behaviour Frameworks
• Kirkpatrick’s Framework
Step 1: Reaction – How well did the learners like the learning process?
Step 2: Learning – What did they learn? (the extent to which the learners gain
knowledge and skills)
Step 3: Behaviour – What changes in job performance resulted from the learning
process? (capability to perform the newly learned skills while on the job)
Step 4: Results – What are the tangible results of the learning process in terms of
reduced cost, improved quality, increased production, efficiency, etc.?

Does not take account of wider organisational impact and unforeseen outcomes

Recommendations from Edwards and Turnbull (2013)

1. Focus on all levels
2. Take an ethnographic perspective
3. Use biographical timelines
4. Use formal and informal data gathering
5. Use Socratic investigation
6. Reflect upon culture – stories, myths, history, symbols,
language, controls, power etc.
7. Start the evaluation at the design stage

Arts-Based methods in Managerial Development
(Taylor and Ladkin, 2009)

• Tools based on traditional logic and rationality assume that world is stable,
knowable and predictable – this is limiting
• Non-logical activities enable people to solve problems and enact their
potentials
• Accessing intuitions, feelings, stories, improvisation, experience, imagination, active
listening, awareness in the moment, novel words and empathy
• Contribution of arts-based methods to development of managers and
leaders:
Skills transfer – learning artistic skills that can be applied to organisational setting
Projective Technique – accessing inner thoughts and feelings
Illustration of essence – apprehend essence of a concept, situation, tacit knowledge
Making – deeper experience of personal presence and connection to counteract
feelings of disconnect and fragmentation amongst leaders

Activity A

1. Watch the video clip
Ilya Repin – The Art of Russia – Roads to Revolution – BBC4 – YouTube
2. Read the article
Edwards, G. (2017). From the Black Square to the Red Square: Rebel leadership constructed as process
through a narrative on art. Leadership, 13(1), 100–119. https://doi.org/10.1177/1742715015626242
3. Answer the following questions in your reflective diaries
Sense-making is the essence of leadership:
=> Why and how is this true?
o=> Can art create leadership, if so, why and how? If not, why not?

Article: From the Black Square to the Red Square:
Rebel leadership constructed as process through a narrative on art
• This paper advances leadership theory towards a process-based perspective grounded on
an appreciation of art  using a narrative on art in Russia which forms the basis for
discussing the role that symbolism and aesthetics play in (re)interpreting rebel leadership.
• This paper explores James Downton’s work alongside the narration to develop a socially
constructed process- based interpretation of rebel leadership.
• Building on this interpretation, fundamental aspects of process-based leadership missing
from the literature are highlighted:
• the ridicule (through caricature) of existing leaders and leadership by the incumbent
leader and/or leadership process – a pre-stage to the emergence of rebel leadership.
• stages of social and organizational liminality and introspection.
• Suggestions for further theoretical and empirical enquiry and practical implications are
highlighted

Activity B

Thinking about the issue of evaluation , watch the clip
The Stinging Ant Ritual – Amazon with Bruce Parry – BBC – YouTube
Read the case study “Arabian Knights” regarding the development programme in Iraq, relate
the discussion to the lecture slides and respond to the following questions in your reflective
diaries:
• What issues arise for you in the case study?
• What are good aspects of the programme and not so good aspects, and why?
• How you might evaluate such a programme. What factors would be important to your
evaluation and why?
=> think about what this might mean for evaluating the programme in the case study

Case Study: Arabian Knights
by Tony Nelson

• The Iraqi Foundation for Technical Education (FTE) -government agency responsible for
technical colleges and Institutes throughout Iraq- wanted a world-class development
programme for its college deans. It drew from the UK’s acclaimed leadership development
programme which was adapted to become the Dean’s Qualifying Programme (DQP).
• FTE wanted to move from top down, centralized control to more flexible management in
order to better meet the training needs of local employers and areas. This was against a
background of national security problems, political change, economic challenges and a
patriarchal culture.

Case Study: Arabian Knights
by Tony Nelson

• A pilot programme -adapted to the Iraqi context and culture- included taught elements on:
• high performance working
• change leadership
• engaging with external stakeholders
• innovation culture
• motivation
• coaching skills
• experiential learning workshop to stimulate peer feedback and self-awareness
• How to undertake a 360-degree feedback process
• They had to prepare a personal leadership development plan and also manage a change project in
the workplace
• Almost all of this approach was new to the Iraqi culture but was successfully run over 18 months
to develop a cadre of Iraqi coaches and assessors able to support a wider roll-out.
• Cohorts two and three commenced in 2011 and 2012 for a further 36 senior leaders in Iraqi
colleges and schools.