Administrative Issues Journal


David Henderson


The purpose of this qualitative intrinsic case study was to analyze how the inner lives of fifteen educational leaders impacted their leadership practice. The common experience of the Courage To Lead (CTL) program defined the case. This case study was bound by place as the cohort of educational leaders involved in this study were all from the Seattle area in Washington State and experienced the CTL program in 2002-2004 at the same venue. The study is bounded by time in that the analysis of the participants was from the beginning of their CTL experience in November, 2002 until January, 2007. This research was framed by the following central question: How did the inner life impact the leadership practice of a group of educational leaders who experienced the Courage To Lead program? The following nine subquestions were used: How did these leaders perceive that their leadership practice was affected by: 1. Use of self examination? 2. The clarity of their own personal identity? 3. Personal authenticity? 4. Bringing heart to their work? 5. Integrity of their inner life to their leadership? 6. Inner life and relationships? 7. Inner life and the exhibition of courage? 8. Inner life and the ability to build community in their organizations? 9. Inner life in the current educational context? Thematic coding analyzed three primary sources of data: individual interviews, categorical aggregation of those interview transcriptions based on the subquestions, and a focus group discussion. Three key issues surfaced from the analysis and triangulation of the data. They are: 1. The inner life of these leaders was critical to their living and leadership revealing itself in a Triad of the Self: Identity-Integrity-Authenticity. 2. Looking inward was not the only direction for whole living and leading. The Identity-Integrity-Authenticity triad caused these leaders to recognize that their outer living reflected and affected the quality and ongoing development of their inner work. 3. The Courage To Lead program recognizes this individual inner journey and the communal outer journey and by design provides a unique environment for enhancing this inner-outer pilgrimage. In CTL the participants travel “alone together.”



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