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Facing the monsters: Embracing liminality in leadership development

Hawkins, Beverley; Edwards, Gareth


Beverley Hawkins

Gareth Edwards
Professor of Leadership and Community Studies


Steve Kempster


This chapter draws on our experiences of the liminal nature of learning about leadership. Liminality is often referred to as a moment of ‘being on a threshold’, or ‘betwixt-and-between’, where new worldviews can be developed and new identities can be tried out. Here, we illustrate why the literature on liminality has such rich insights for both learners and educators of leadership. Drawing on our own experiences of teaching leadership, we suggest ways that leadership development practitioners can harness the liminal character of learning experiences, to facilitate the development of leadership skills. This chapter emphasises the lack of a ‘one size fits all’ liminal experience, pointing out that liminal spaces are not immune to power, and that they can be spaces where processes of inclusion and exclusion are enacted and reinforced.


Hawkins, B., & Edwards, G. (2017). Facing the monsters: Embracing liminality in leadership development. In S. Kempster, A. Turner, & G. Edwards (Eds.), Field Guide to Leadership DevelopmentEdward Elgar

Publication Date Nov 1, 2017
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Book Title Field Guide to Leadership Development
ISBN 9781785369902
Keywords leadership, liminality
Publisher URL

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