PROFESSOR ATUL K. SHAH www.atulkshah.co.uk
Globally renowned expert advisor and broadcaster on culture, accounting, finance, business ethics, holistic education and leadership
Leadership is a vast topic for modern education in a variety of fields. Given the power and influence of leaders, how they manifest and exercise it makes a vast difference to the organisations and communities and the resulting motivation and effectiveness. There are hundreds of books on leadership all over the world, although most of them are patriarchal, written by men for men. Very few books are by women, and given that we are living in the Anthropocene, and it is men who have brought us here, it is important that we learn from women. Their voice is likely to throw a different light on a man-made problem.
Lynne is a highly accomplished leader, mainly in the field of education where she has been Dean of a Business School, Principal of a College and Head of the Centre for Excellence in Leadership in Education, for which she was awarded a CBE, a very high royal honour in the UK. She also has a PhD in Management, so she combines her experience of leadership with deep learning of various models of leadership. In this book, she has come up with a new model of leadership which is both spiritual and holistic, and beyond gender and sexuality. It is called the ‘Goddess Luminary Leadership Wheel’, something she has developed through a number of training courses and deep reflection and study of leadership for the 21st century over several decades. What she has undertaken in this book is a very significant challenge and a synthesis which is very timely given the variety of silos in our world and the influence of ego and patriarchy combined with a deep secularism among the professional classes.
The book has five chapters, the first two setting the scene as to why we really need a very different and holistic and spiritual model of leadership. In Chapter 3 she describes the Goddess Luminary Leadership Wheel she has developed as a model for this approach, and Chapters 4 and 5 go into more detail about the various facets of the model, with many practical examples. The techniques involve meditation, breathing, lunar worship, and deepening self-awareness and listening. I like her preference for the word Luminary rather than leadership – the latter has much more control, power and authority embedded within its public understanding. In stark contrast, Lynne’s approach is more empowering and enabling and less controlling or forceful. The book has a number of quotes, verses and themed questions to help the reader learn and reflect.
The word ‘Goddess’ in the title will put a lot of conventional management readers off, but for Lynne, this is central to her analysis. Sustainable leadership comes from a deep acknowledgement of the spiritual energy within all of us, and this divinity can become a significant resource for the risky and challenging task of leadership. The Wheel itself is complex and multi-layered and resonates with the classic elements of earth, air, fire and water – making it very grounded and elemental. It feels multi-dimensional and multi-layered, just like the very real challenges of authentic leadership. Her use of the various phases of the moon resonate with my own Dharmic upbringing where rituals and diet are regulated by the lunar phases – an awareness of the wider influences on our own mental health and well-being.
There is no simple way to summarise the book in a few words. It has to be read and studied, and even better, readers could subscribe to her training courses to have a deeper personal experience of this unique leadership method and spirit. What is certain is that in the cacophony of leadership voices, we rarely hear from such perspectives, or approaches which synthesize both spiritual and material realities, and go beyond race or gender without diminishing either. The book is likely to appeal to those who have a deep desire to be authentic and whole in their leadership roles.
The book is available worldwide from Amazon and here is an on-line link with more detailed information and testimonials.