I am a former college basketball coach and fitness professional who had to pivot my career path when my time in athletics ended. I was getting my PhD in Leadership at the time, and I adjusted my research and academic direction to focus on women and leadership, group dynamics, and non-traditional approaches to leadership training and development. Somewhere deep inside I believed that there had to be another approach to leadership other than the historical hierarchical and oppressive model that seemed to be so dominant in our organizations.
I discovered Adaptive Leadership, based on the work of Ron Heiftez and Terri Monroe, and Dare to Lead™, based on the work of Brené Brown. I discovered group relations theory that believes that our behavior is based not only on our traits, but by our need to conform to social demands and expectations. This was it! These models viewed leadership not as position you held but as something you did. These models acknowledged the intense impact of the groups in our lives. These models acknowledge that leadership is a set of skills, but it’s not superficial or learned from list of best practices. It’s nuanced, complex, messy, and hard. Yet, people can teach it, and we can learn it.