Category Archives: Leadership

How analytical psychology can help you understand and develop leadership capabilities, for yourself or your organisation.

The Hero Myth in International Conflicts

Luke Skywalker, by Jonathan ReyThe resolution of interpersonal and international conflict is often hindered by the hero myth.

A traditional hero in myth is a powerful person who “vanquishes evil… and who liberates his people from destruction and death”1. The psychological power of the hero is illustrated by its frequent use in fiction to achieve commercial success. For example, George Lucas used a hero myth to craft the characters in the film Star Wars. This was so successful that the hero myth became an integral part of Hollywood screenwriting and computer game design.

However, less attention is paid to the significant role that the hero myth can play in interpersonal and international relations. It can shape those relationships, exacerbate conflict, and create new problems of its own.

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Syrian conflict – do nothing or do the wrong thing?

Syrian vote BBC reportDavid Cameron recalled parliament this week to seek approval for military intervention in Syria.  His motion was rejected, which has sparked a range of reactions – e.g. from people feeling proud to feeling ashamed of being British.  In a few days, Barack Obama is going to ask Congress to approve US military action.

Analytical psychology has a lot to offer this debate because it explains the conflict between the differing views and – more importantly – offers some hope for a constructive way ahead.

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Good enough leadership: a good enough example.

Archbishop an example of good enough leadership

Justin Welby hit the headlines by choosing, for his first Easter sermon as Archbishop of Canterbury, his failure as a leader.1  To some, this might seem a slightly odd topic, or perhaps a side-issue to the real message of Easter.  But, from a Jungian perspective, it can be seen as a brilliant choice, both from a leadership point of view and one of personal, spiritual development.

Jung was “absorbed by the question of leadership” (Samuels 1993, p. 287).    Much of Western leadership culture is concerned with aiming to be the perfect leader – doing things better, to a higher standard, or becoming more excellent.  In analytical psychology, however, this is one-sided and unrealistic, and a better leader is one who aspires to wholeness.

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