An Existential Approach to Leadership Challenges  book cover
1st Edition

An Existential Approach to Leadership Challenges

ISBN 9780367251840
Published September 18, 2019 by Routledge
164 Pages

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Book Description

In An Existential Approach to Leadership Challenges, Monica Hanaway progresses us forward from a brief, introductory understanding of existential thought to considering how this approach can positively address the practical leadership challenges our twenty-first century leaders face today.

Hanaway presents a practical framework to tackle the greatest challenges in leadership, such as creating an inspiring and authentic vision, recruiting, retaining and developing staff and dealing with conflict. In Part I, she presents an overview of existential thought and what existentialism can bring to leadership, helping resolve issues of uncertainty, authenticity, relatedness, freedom and meaning making. In Part II, she explores how to work practically with an existential leadership approach, showing how existentialism can help communicate a vision, examining the vision statements of existing businesses as case studies and explaining the importance of this in recruiting, developing and retaining staff. Finally, she explores how the existential approach is beneficial in preventing, managing and dealing with conflict, defining what conflict is and introducing existentially informed conflict coaching and psychologically informed mediation practice. Combining philosophical and practical thinking, Hanaway has made existentialism an accessible resource for all leaders.

This book will appeal to future leaders in practice and in training, and anyone in a leadership role. It will also be of interest to academics and students of coaching and coaching psychology, as well as to those interested in applied philosophy and psychology.

Table of Contents

Introduction; Part One: What Do We Mean by 'Existential Leadership'?;  Chapter 1: What does it mean to be 'existential'?;  Chapter 2: What does it mean to be a Leader?;  Chapter 3: The challenge of finding a new type of leadership for the 21st century;  Chapter 4: What challenges does existentialism bring to leadership?;  Part Two: Working Practically with the Existential Leadership Approach;  Chapter 5: An existential approach to creating, communicating and implementing a vision;  Chapter 6: An existential approach to recruitment, retention and development of staff;  Chapter 7: An existential approach to preventing, managing and resolving conflict;  Conclusion

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Monica Hanaway is an executive and leadership coach, business consultant, mediator, psychotherapist and trainer. She is the author of The Existential Leader (Routledge) and runs training programmes on this approach. She is passionate in her mission to bring existential thought beyond the academic arena into the business world, believing it has much to offer leaders in these uncertain times.


'Among the abundance of literature on leadership this book truly sticks out. Monica Hanaway's unique contribution does a stellar job in introducing an existential perspective on being a leader, capturing the philosophical and psychological depth that accompanies these positions of great responsibility and, through clear writing and to-the-point examples, manages to distill complex philosophical thought into pragmatic solutions to common leadership challenges such as creating a vision or dealing with conflict, as well as discussing some of the most pertinent yet often un-addressed existential issues, which often weigh heavily on those at the top. Becoming aware, managing and ultimately embracing the existential challenges surrounding leadership will make the difference between those who find themselves in a leading role and truly exceptional leaders ready to navigate the unique challenges of the 21st century. A must read for everybody who aspires to greatness and is eager to build the resilience needed to lead their people confidently into an uncertain future.'- Yannick Jacob, positive existential coach; trainer, supervisor and change agent; author of An Introduction to Existential Coaching (Routledge, 2019)

'Monica has delivered very popular workshops at Riga University. Her existential psychological approach provides an interesting and valuable new way to approach the challenges of leadership, coaching and conflict resolution. ‘An Existential Approach to Leadership Challenges’ shows how this philosophical approach can be used effectively in approaching the challenges of leadership both strategic and relational.' - Ulla Zumente-Steele, Erasmus Institutional Coordinator Riga School of Law, Latvia

'During my leadership and mediation training sessions in Guernsey with Monica, she has demonstrated her application of existential thought and practice. Throughout these learnings, the dichotomy of existential versus traditional leadership were explored, highlighting the importance of authenticity, values and purpose in modern existential leadership styles, and the benefits of actively demonstrating the application of those attributes. As a leader, these studies have also enabled me to approach coaching and conflict situations with a more acute self-awareness and appreciate the impact of the individuals’ outer world.

Monica illustrates the powers of the existential approach through brilliant writing and real-life examples. I would encourage anyone to buy this book as a resource and reference to those who are in, or who have a desire to be successful, in a leadership role.' - Chris Corbin, Head of Customer Service First Central Insurance and Technology Group, Guernsey

'Monica has run trainings in Bucharest on her existential approach to business, coaching and conflict resolution. It is good to see this approach detailed in her new book An Existential Approach to Leadership Challenges. The book introduces the core concepts of the existential approach and also shows, in a very practical way how this approach can be used in some of the main tasks of organisational leadership. It shows that effective, mindful dialogue, focused on existential concerns lies at the heart of good leadership.' - Madalina Calcun, Department for Open Government and Civil Society, Bucharest, Romania

'All leaders will encounter challenges and many of these have the potential to cause conflict. In An Existential Approach to Leadership Challenges, Monica Hanaway demonstrates how to bring a philosophical approach into day to day leadership. Using her approach can help to reduce the number of workplace conflicts, but should conflicts occur, as they inevitably will, she offers existentially informed introductions to conflict coaching and mediation. This makes the book a value resource to leaders, but also to coaches and mediators.' - Mugur Mitroi, President of Mediation Council of Romania 

'Successful leadership and management of any organization can only be achieved when the leader truly understands psychological aspects. Monica Hanaway perfectly outlines the most important theoretical and practical issues in her new book, helping the reader to discover the impact of psychology on leadership. Monica Hanaway's book An Existential Approach to Leadership Challenges is the key to each reader's next, successful career steps, which is only possible through nuanced understanding of psychology in leadership. Never before has an existential approach been explained so brightly.' - Dana Rone, advocate at law, accredited mediator; member of the Disciplinary Commission of Sworn Advocates in Latvia; lecturer at Turiba University, Riga, Latvia

'This is an important book for existential leadership in the twenty-first century where uncertainty is rarely acknowledged let alone expressed. To be certain is the name of the game in many circles where confidence and certainty often go hand in hand. Monica Hanaway addreses the challenges that existentialism brings – uncertainty, authenticity, relatedness, freedom and meaning making. She shows the reader why each of these "existentials" can be challenging for corporate leaders or for anyone who is responsible for managing others. She argues convincingly that understanding and embracing these existential challenges enhances and creates modern leaders who are equipped to deal with all the challenges that come with the role of leader. One everyday challenge is conflict. We are shown how conflict can be accepted and handled creatively or how an existential leader can prevent, manage or resolve conflict via coaching or mediation. I highly recommend this well written practical book that is also full of common sense and wisdom.' - Diana Mitchell, UKCP psychotherapist; accredited mediator; lecturer, Regent’s University, London, UK

'The emphasis in Leadership is changing. The increasing pace of change and complexity calls for a different approach meaning leaders must adapt their leadership style. An Existential Approach to Leadership Challenges builds on Monica Hanaway’s previous book, giving concrete examples of how existential thought can help address common leadership challenges.' - Felix Spender, former army officer, international negotiator and SME business leader

'Monica Hanaway worked in Belfast and Cape Town with paramilitaries and township residents, for the Tutu Foundation UK. I was extremely impressed by Monica’s disciplined psychologically informed way, not telling anyone what to do, or promising anything which couldn’t be delivered. Her approach demonstrates the extraordinary parallels between Existential Phenomenology and the African philosophy and tool of Ubuntu, lived and promulgated by Desmond Tutu and indeed Nelson Mandela. All types of leaders can gain from the approach described in An Existential Approach to Leadership Challenges.' - Clive Conway, Chair of the Tutu Foundation UK; Patron Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Honorary Patron FW de Klerk

'I first encountered Monica when she gave a presentation to the Lawyers Network. I then engaged her as a leadership coach to work with me in a time of transition when I was moving from a post I had held for many years to a new post in a very different sector. In her coaching she embodies the principles and practice she describes in An Existential Approach to Leadership Challenges. Her book presents a very clear explanation of existential leadership in action.' - Mirjam Buyteweg, previous Global head of Law Sony Music; Head of Legal and Compliance, IFRS Foundation, London, UK

'Uncertain times such as those we live in (and through) demand leaders who can engage with the challenges being provoked - be they personal, interpersonal or organisational. Monica Hanaway's wise and thought-provoking book, An Existential Approach to Leadership Challenges, succeeds in alerting and attuning today's leaders to the possibilities of leadership within a framework that does not seek to evade the uncertainties of living but rather attempts to delineate them so that they can be "worked with" rather than "fought against". Highly recommended.' - Professor Ernesto Spinelli, author of Practising Existential Therapy: The Relational World (2nd Edition, 2015)