Artful inquiry as a leadership skill

Publikation: KonferencebidragPaper

Bidragets oversatte titelRefleksion gennem kunst som en ledelseskompetence
Artful Inquiry as a Leadership Skill Lotte Darsø Abstract for 8th AMO 2016: Open Stream How do leaders develop their own leadership? How do leaders get inspiration and energy for leading and how do they make decisions in complex situations with scarce information? In this paper I will argue that artful inquiry is an important leadership skill, both in relation for leaders to rekindle themselves and their employees. I’ll define Artful Inquiry as the skill of inquiring into something of importance through body, mind, heart and spirit. Artful Inquiry taps into the leader’s tacit knowledge (experience, pre-cognition, sensations, perceptions and pre-verbal repertoire) and can thus be seen as a way of “Empowering the Intangible”, the theme of this conference. Artful Inquiry is suggested as consisting of two main parts: 1. Formulating the purpose and the specific questions 2. Designing an appropriate artful method for accessing the inner knowing Formulating the purpose first and foremost concerns clarifying the direction and intention, and secondly is aimed at formulating and framing Artful Questions. An important aim of this paper will be to discuss what it means to formulate Artful Questions, what to consider, and how this can be done in practice. Designing appropriate artful methods must follow the specific purpose and the formulated questions by taking into consideration elements such as the leader’s situation, history, organizational challenges and personal preferences. Furthermore the context and timing must be reflected. The available artful methods are manifold: Writing and reflecting (e.g. in a learning journal or morning pages); visualizing (e.g. drawing or painting); prototyping (turning intangible thoughts, ideas or sentiments into tangible forms or figures, using a variety of materials such as paper, clay, LEGO pieces, photos, cloth, materials from nature, or a combinations of these); embodying (e.g. exploring positions, developing empathy, or focused sensing into what the body knows); listening (e.g. to different music pieces or live music); or presencing (e.g. through meditation or mindfulness). The first part of the paper will build theoretical arguments for defining Artful Inquiry as well as Artful Questions. Artful Inquiry will be clarified and discussed in relation to similar theoretical concepts, such as aesthetic inquiry and artistic inquiry, building on the research of e.g. Strati (2000, 2013); Guillet de Monthoux et al. (2007); Taylor & Hansen (2005); Cameron (1992), aesthetic reflexivity (Sutherland, 2013), artful creation (Darsø, 2004) and artful work (Richards, 1995). This is followed by empirical data and examples from research and practice. The analysis will build on Theory U (Scharmer, 2007), Taylor & Ladkin (2009), Sutherland (2012), Darsø (2004, 2014), Berthoin Antal & Straus (2016), and others. The paper will contribute both theoretically and practically, by delineating and discussing an important concept and by providing suggestions for how the skill of Artful Inquiry can be developed in leadership education and thereby support leadership practice.
Udgivelsesår1 sep. 2016
Antal sider15
StatusUdgivet - 1 sep. 2016
BegivenhedThe Art of Management and Organisation - IEDC Bled School of Manaement, Bled, Slovenien
Varighed: 1 sep. 20164 sep. 2016
Konferencens nummer: 8


KonferenceThe Art of Management and Organisation
LokationIEDC Bled School of Manaement


  • Artful Inquiry, Reflection, Aestethic Inquiry, Powerful questions, artistic metheds

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