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Awakened leaders: born or made?

Joan F. Marques (Woodbury University, Burbank, California, USA)

Leadership & Organization Development Journal

ISSN: 0143-7739

Article publication date: 15 June 2010




This paper aims to review the leader of the twenty‐first century, the Awakened Leader. Based on information, collected from 11 leadership thinkers and practitioners, literature review, and the author's workplace observations, the article seeks to analyze some of the important experiences and skills that make awakened leaders so outstanding.


This study was conducted as a qualitative study of the phenomenological kind, enriched with literature review. Interviews were executed from a pre‐validated interview protocol. The approach to the topic is: definition of awakened leadership; review of the essence of awakened leadership; reasoning of the determination regarding this leader being born or made; and perspectives toward awakened leadership.


An interesting combination of qualities emerged for awakened leaders varying from morals and values, ethics, integrity, honesty and trust, to kindness, forgiveness, courage, love, and deep listening. As an interesting endnote the article explains why practicing awakened leadership is easy and difficult at the same time.

Research limitations/implications

The studies reviewed, although in‐depth, applied to a small sample of leaders, which makes generalization riskier. Because leadership is such a broad and dynamic topic, literature review is never exhausted, and thus always relatively outdated.

Practical implications

Leaders may reconsider the skills required for themselves and their workforce to guarantee successful performance in an increasingly interconnected world. Leaders may engage in reflection and work toward stronger emphasis and development of skills in which they consider themselves weak. Leaders may reexamine their work environment and consider how to minimize the factors that complicate the practice of awakened leadership in their organization.


The phenomenon of awakened leadership as an all‐encompassing and multi‐applicable leadership trend is shown in the paper.



Marques, J.F. (2010), "Awakened leaders: born or made?", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 31 No. 4, pp. 307-323.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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