Inner Theatre for Leaders

Becoming successful is dependent on the very complex interface between leaders, followers, and the context they operate in. An effective leader has to be active and reflective, an introvert, and an extrovert. A leader has to be engaged in divergent thinking, and in convergent thinking. A leader needs IQ as well EQ. A leader has to think astonishingly as well as holistically. A leader’s thinking has to be both short-term and long-term. The person who can balance these contradictions effectively will do well.

Most leadership programs are actually Band-Aids; they don’t do very much. After people go through that kind of program, they get a temporary high: they feel good, particularly if they have had good teachers, and then, unfortunately, they go back to normal. There are few programs which have a true impact, that help people change, that push people to take important steps in their personal and organizational lives.

INSEAD Global Leadership Center, is one of such, that provides excellent development framework for leadership development.

The program begins with Inner Theatre which relates to:

  • What are the things that motivate you?
  • What are the things that are important to you?
  • What are you deeply passionate about?
  • How do you feel about certain things?
  • How well do you understand how you affect other people?

If you don’t know what you are doing, it is really hard to be effective in many ways.

If you want to be an effective leader, it is important that you have a sense of what you are all about; what you do well, and are not so good at. If you are not good at certain things, may be there is something you can do about it, or may be a better strategy is to find people who can complement you.

A person’s leadership potential is a delicate interplay between nature and nurture. If you grow up in a family where your parents very much encourage you, push you to do something with your life, and may be give you some solid values about doing something for world, it’s more likely that you’ll turn into a leader than if you come from a very dysfunctional family. But then again, some people who have had a very difficult upbringing have become highly effective leaders.

Remember, when one person tells you that you have ears like a donkey, ignore it. But if two people tell you, get yourself a saddle.

Personal leadership provides an excellent opportunity for people to evaluate the credibility of leaders, which helps determine whether employees “willingly” accept and contribute their efforts. Specifically, organizations with top management that is perceived favorably from a personal, or human side, are more likely to enjoy the willing cooperation of employees. Perhaps the most interesting fact is the mediating effect of personal leadership on the relationship between professional leadership and willing cooperation. When employees are confident in the professional leadership of the organization, it leads to favorable views of personal aspects of leadership (e.g. trust, caring), which in turn leads to employees engaging in willing cooperation. This makes sense when considering that people likely find it easier to get along with their organization’s leaders, when they perceive their leaders to be engaging in effective practices that will enhance business outcomes as well as employee outcomes.


Liu, L., Conversations on Leadership: Wisdom from Global Management Gurus, Wiley India: Delhi, 2010



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