Leadership development scholars have been reflecting, on different approaches to leadership development programmes particularly those lecturers and facilitators interested in using aesthetic approaches and ideas. Recent aesthetic approaches have been captured in collections of work outlining different approaches to leadership development (Edwards, Elliott, Iszatt-White and Schedlitzki, 2013). Interest in the use of objects and artefacts has also grown. This chapter highlights the use of small finger puppets, representing a wide range of people both dead and alive, within leadership development and coaching. Discovered by chance the author outlines the use of finger puppets as an extension of the oft-used ‘visual aid’ for enhancing delegates’ understanding of the course content. This Chapter describes the ways in which these finger puppets have been used which has enable variety, interest and surprise to the wider concepts of experiential variety in the delivery of leadership ideas. The application of puppets is a significant move away from many over more conventional ways of engaging delegates and students and this novelty adds both humour and playfulness but also contributes to the processing, understanding and interpretation of conventional leadership theories and models.
Steve Kempster, Arthur F. Turner and Gareth Edwards
In this opening chapter we seek to address three purposes. First we outline the focus of the field guide book – experiential learning. Experiential learning in leadership development has been dominated by outdoor (and indoor) activities such as the spiders’ web. However, the ability of such activities to capture the complexity of leadership practice is rather restricted. We explore this point and suggest there is much need for alternative experiential processes that are more suited to the development of leadership practice. Second we outline the chapters of the book that provide a spectrum of approaches that have been developed and tested in the ‘field’ of leadership development. All of the approaches are fundamentally aligned to advancing leadership practice through reflection. Third the chapter seeks to illustrate a style of writing that is commensurate with a field guide. We seek to be direct and engaging; rooted in theoretical arguments yet accessible and connected to everyday practice; provocative and reflexive. The chapter concludes by arguing for reflection and practice to become an essential part of organizational leadership. To that end we offer up the notion of the ‘leadership practice field’ and pose the question ‘how can we enable those who lead to practise leading’.