Designing Environments for Innovation
Washington D.C. and Crestone, CO.


The Leadership Spiral


Our intention is to offer awareness of a three-part ‘leadership spiral’ of choices from which one can draw when crafting a personal leadership practice directed toward ‘leading from the creative edge.’

What is this ‘Leadership Spiral?’

The Leadership Spiral calls on

The Crestone Institute focuses especially on developing skills and capacities in Transformational and Transpersonal Leadership. In additional to contracting with individual clients, we offer public seminars on cultivating Personal Leadership, a framework of two principles and six practices which facilitate individual cultivation of transpersonal leadership.

Leaders and followers are linked primarily through exchange of what is valued such as accomplishing tasks, fulfilling needs and achieving goals. The exchange may be, for example, primarily economic, perhaps to maintain reputation and image or for reasons of loyalty and tradition. There is little focus on a collective interest or pursuit of a shared greater purpose. Success is based on such values as honesty, fairness, responsibility and the honoring of commitments.

James MacGregor Burns; Leadership, Harper & Row, New York, l978.


Leaders and followers engage the full-personhood of each other such that both are transformed as their interactions lift each other into their better selves and support each other to more fully realize personal potential. They are united in the pursuit of greater purpose. Within their transactional roles, leaders focus on developing others as leaders rather than doing things for others. Leaders do this:

  1. by contributing to the development of another’s self-efficacy or self-confidence,
  2. by seeking power so that they can share it,
  3. by using their power to delegate and legitimate others taking responsibility for outcomes,
  4. by developing other’s vision and cognitive abilities to see long-range outcomes and systemic connections.

Sashkin, Marshall and William Rosenbach; “A New Vision of Leadership,” in Contemporary Issues in Leadership, 4th Edition edited by Rosenbach and Taylor, Westview Press, Boulder, Co., 1998.

Srivastva, S. and David Cooperrider and Associates (Eds.); Appreciative Management and Leadership: The Power of Positive Thought in Organizations, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, 1990.

Palus, Charles J. and David M. Horth; “Leading Creatively,” from Leadership in Action, Center for Creative Leadership and Jossey -Bass, Vol. 18, #2, 1998.


Leaders and followers are committed to work and live in alignment with the highest and best in themselves. They attend to and follow what is personally life-enhancing, brings joy and builds upon their unique capabilities. Supported by a practice of internal dialogue, they:

  1. see each moment as a learning opportunity,
  2. ask questions and receive answers from their own deepest source of knowing,
  3. adaptively respond to each unique situation.

Using this internal dialogue renews their alignment so they may offer their best to serve higher purposes. The individual cultivation of transpersonal leadership is facilitated through the practice of Personal Leadership.

Schaetti, Barbara F., & Sheila Ramsey, “The Expatriate Family: Practicing Personal Leadership.” Mobility: Magazine of the Employee Relocation Council, Washington D.C., May, 89–94, 1999.

Schaetti, Barbara F., Gordon Watanabe & Sheila Ramsey, The Practice of Personal Leadership, Excerpted from The Practice of Personal Leadership and the SIIC Internship Program, Intercultural Communication Institute, Portland, Oregon, 2000.

If you would like more information about The Leadership Spiral,
please contact us.

For other Opportunities with Crestone, see:
Leadership Development Through Dialogue | Innovation in Leading Change |  Personal Leadership


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