In this chapter, we introduce the idea of exploring driversandblockers—both conscious and unconscious—in leadership development as a prerequisite and contribution to enhanced and profound self-awareness. This chapter provides an overview of the chapters to come, as well the interconnections between these. In the process, it discusses potential reservoirs or sources of drivers and blockers in people, including the conscious and the unconscious, emotions, personality and values. We also introduce the “Drivers and Blockers Exploration Tool” which is an effective intervention contribution for leaders to incorporate within an integrated leadership development process to assist with achieving their desired change objectives. This chapter concludes by briefly discussing the contributions and implications for leadership development research and practice of our work on drivers and blockers, as well as providing an example from our field work to bring the drivers and blockers concept into focus at the outset.
- Leadership development
- Conscious and unconscious
- Drivers and blockers
- Immunity to change
- Insightfully aware leadership
- Leadership transformation
- Individual change
- Leadership development objectives
- Coaching approaches and tools
Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.
Carl Gustav Jung
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Change here refers to any change which is “adaptive” (Heifetz et al., 2009) and involves “the challenge of developing the whole person” (Boyatzis et al., 2002, p. 151) at an intrapersonal level. We note that there is also an extensive literature on organizational change and resistance that is neither the focus of our research studies nor the findings presented in this book.
For further information on the construct of “insightfully aware leaders” and “insightful awareness”, readers can access some online content from Professor Ian C. Woodward at:
Between 2013 and 2018, as part of our field research, we included aspects of exploring drivers, blockers or both, in different leadership development programs and coaching or training activities covering more than 2000 executive and senior executive level leaders. All the examples used in this book are drawn from this field research. To maintain confidentiality, the real names of the participants have not been used—and other information has been highly anonymized and disguised. All of our driver and blocker examples are listed in a cross-referenced summary table in Sect. 10.1.
An example from our research (see Sect. 10.1, Example 42).
Allen, S. J., & Hartman, N. S. (2008). Sources of learning: An exploratory study. Organization Development Journal, 26(2), 75–87.
Aspinwall, L. G., & Staudinger, U. M. (2003). A psychology of human strengths: Fundamental questions and future directions for a positive psychology. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Bachkirova, T. (2011). Developmental coaching: Working with the self. Maidenhead, UK: Open University Press.
Boyatzis, R. E. (2006). An overview of intentional change from a complexity perspective. Journal of Management Development, 25(7), 607–623.
Boyatzis, R. E., Stubbs, E. C., & Taylor, S. N. (2002). Learning cognitive and emotional intelligence competencies through graduate management education. Academy of Management Learning and Education, 1(2), 150–162.
Collingwood, H. (2001). Leadership’s first commandment: know thyself. Harvard Business Review, 79(11), 8.
Diener, E. (2000). Subjective well-being: the science of happiness and a proposal for a national index. American Psychologist, 55(1), 34–43.
Hall, D. T. (2004). Self-awareness, identity, and leader development. In D. Day, S. Zaccaro, & S. Halpin (Eds.), Leader development for transforming organizations — Growing leaders for tomorrow. (pp. 153–170). New York: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Heifetz, R. A., Linsky, M., & Grashow, A. (2009). The Practice of Adaptive Leadership: Tools and Tactics for Changing Your Organization and the World. Boston: Harvard Business Press.
Ibarra, H., & Petriglieri, J. L. (2010). Identity work and play. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 23(1), 10–25.
Kegan, R. (1994). In over Our Heads: The Mental Demands of Modern Life. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Kegan, R., & Lahey, L. (2001a). The real reason people won’t change. Harvard Business Review, 79(10), 85–92.
Kegan, R., & Lahey, L. (2009). Immunity to change: How to overcome it and unlock the potential in yourself and in your organization. Boston: Harvard Business Press.
Lee, G. (2010). The psychodynamic approach to coaching. In E. Cox, T. Bachkirova, & D. Clutterbuck (Eds.), The complete handbook of coaching (pp. 23–36). London, UK: Sage Publications.
Mayo, M., Kakarika, M., Pastor, J. C., & Brutus, S. (2012). Aligning or Inflating Your Leadership Self-Image? A Longitudinal Study of Responses to Peer Feedback in MBA Teams. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 11(4), 631–652.
McCall, M. W. J. (2009). Every strength a weakness and other caveats. In R. B. Kaiser (Ed.), The Perils of Accentuating the Positive (pp. 41–56). Tulsa, OK: Hogan Press.
Peterson, C. (2000). The future of optimism. American Psychologist, 55(1), 44–55.
Petriglieri, G., Wood, J. D., & Petriglieri, J. L. (2011). Up Close and Personal: Developing Foundations for Leader Development through Personalization of Management Learning. Academy of Management Learning and Education, 10(3), 430–450.
Seligman, M. E. P. (1998a). Building human strengths: psychology’s forgotten mission. APA Monitor, 29(1), 2.
Seligman, M. E. P. (1998b). Positive social science. APA Monitor, 29(4), 5.
Shamir, B., & Eilam, G. (2005). “What’s your story?” A life-stories approach to authentic leadership development. Leadership Quarterly, 16(3), 395–417.
Snyder, C. R. (2000). Handbook of hope. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
Woodward, I. C., & Shaffakat, S. (2016). Understanding values for insightfully aware leadership (No. 2016/05/OBH). INSEAD Research Working Paper, Singapore. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2471492
Yammarino, F. J., & Atwater, L. E. (1993). Understanding self-perception accuracy: Implications for human resource management. Human Resource Management, 32(2/3), 231–247.
Rights and permissions
© 2019 The Author(s)
About this chapter
Cite this chapter
Woodward, I.C., Shaffakat, S., Dominé, V.H. (2019). Introduction. In: Exploring Leadership Drivers and Blockers. Palgrave Macmillan, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-6276-7_1
Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, Singapore
Print ISBN: 978-981-13-6275-0
Online ISBN: 978-981-13-6276-7
eBook Packages: Business and ManagementBusiness and Management (R0)