The Holistic Approach To Leadership Development And WiLD Toolkit

Last Updated: October 3, 2023 | by Paul Harstrom

Have you ever encountered the concept of a holistic leadership development approach in your leadership coaching experiences? If not, keep reading to discover holistic leadership’s transformative potential.

Leadership surpasses conventional career paths and hierarchical positions, extending its influence to various aspects of life. It holds opportunities for every individual to display leadership qualities in diverse situations and domains.

At the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Stewart D. Friedman, an esteemed organizational psychologist, sheds light on a prevailing issue – many individuals feel unfulfilled because they haven’t tapped into their leadership potential across all dimensions of life. 

These dimensions encompass work, home, community, and personal well-being, which includes the mind, body, and spirit. 

To attain genuine contentment and growth, Friedman emphasizes the significance of establishing a harmonious balance in these four areas and the need to manifest leadership qualities holistically.

Each domain is interlinked and interdependent regardless of the specific arena where we apply our leadership skills – be it the workplace, our family life, our communities, or our personal growth journey

The pivotal entity at the core of this holistic leadership is none other than the individual – YOU.

Adopting a holistic approach to leadership, encompassing all facets of who you are, becomes the natural course of action. This is because every aspect of your life profoundly impacts others. 

Elevate your leadership skills with a holistic approach using the WiLD Toolkit. Unlock your full potential today

This blog post will delve deep into Understanding “The Holistic Approach To Leadership Development Using WiLD Toolkit.” The WiLD Toolkit offers valuable insights and tools that enable transformational leadership development. 

Whether you are curious about holistic leadership coaching or seeking to understand the holistic leadership framework, this article aims to equip you with all these concepts and leadership development skills using the WiLD Toolkit.

What Is The Holistic Leadership Development Model (HLDM)?

Based on the Journal of Values-Based Leadership, authored by Dr. Robert B. McKenna and Ms. Kira K. Wenzel, the holistic leadership development model (HLDM) is a comprehensive framework that recognizes the multifaceted nature of leadership and the interconnectedness of its various components. 

It is based on the understanding that leadership development is not isolated but influenced by interactions with people and the environment.

Three Foundational Principles Guide the Holistic Approach to Leadership Developmental Model:

  • Firstly, leadership development is a non-linear process that does not follow a predetermined path. It involves simultaneous and repetitive components, with unexpected lessons and experiences contributing to growth. 
  • Secondly, leaders develop through interactions with others, learning from these experiences and leveraging them for future endeavors. 
  • Finally, leadership development comprises interdependent factors that mutually influence each other, creating a holistic approach to growth.

The holistic leadership development model consists of six interdependent components:

Experiences and Learning: 

Leaders grow and develop through past experiences and the lessons they learn. Leaders need to reflect on their experiences, both positive and negative, and identify the ones that have had the most significant impact on their personal growth. 

They should also consider the experiences they would like to have in the future to further their development.

Strategic Networking: 

Building a strategic network is crucial for leaders. This network consists of people who provide support, feedback, and opportunities. It is not about collecting business cards but forming meaningful relationships with individuals who can contribute to a leader’s growth and success. 

A robust strategic network helps leaders navigate challenges, receive valuable input, and create new opportunities.

Developing Others: 

Leaders have a responsibility to invest in the growth and development of others. By mentoring and supporting others, leaders can contribute to their success and nurture future leaders. 

This investment requires time and sacrifice to create a development culture and foster the potential of those around them.

Developing others is essential in a Holistic Approach To Leadership Development and utilizing the WiLD Toolkit through LEAD Diligently is the key to Accelerating Results.

Integrated Fulfillment: 

Setting goals and objectives is essential but should align with a leader’s overarching purpose. Without a clear sense, leaders risk losing direction and becoming disconnected from their followers. 

By understanding their purpose and aligning their actions with it, leaders can prioritize what truly matters and make meaningful contributions in various areas of life, such as work, family, finances, and health.

Leading Under Pressure: 

Leaders often face high-pressure situations that test their composure and decision-making skills. Leaders must be self-aware and understand how they react under pressure. 

By maintaining a balance between their own needs and the needs of others, leaders can navigate challenges effectively and lead confidently, even in stressful circumstances.

Calling and Purpose: 

Leaders should reflect on their calling and purpose beyond personal success and encompass serving others. A calling is a transcendent summons to make a difference. At the same time, purpose relates to a leader’s unique design, strengths, and convictions. 

“When you are bigger than your purpose, you have a career. When your purpose is bigger than you, you have a calling.”

John C. Maxwell

Leaders should be open to different callings in their lives and be willing to serve wherever needed, utilizing their gifts and abilities to contribute to the greater good. 

Leaders need to challenge the notion that their identity is solely tied to their success or failure and instead focus on the transformative impact their calling and purpose can have on their lives and the lives of others.

The holistic leadership development model (HLDM) is a comprehensive framework that recognizes the multifaceted nature of leadership and the interconnectedness of its various components.

 It is based on the understanding that leadership development does not occur in isolation but is influenced by interactions with people and the environment. 

Click here to learn more about the Calling + Purpose Inventory of the WiLD Toolkit by LEAD Diligently.

The Transformational Impact Of Holistic Leadership:

A Holistic Approach to Leadership is a concept rooted in the idea that a leader’s effectiveness and impact extend beyond individual skills and behaviors. 

It emphasizes the importance of understanding oneself, leading from a place of authenticity, and recognizing the interconnectedness of various components within a system.

Discover the profound transformational power of holistic leadership. Lead with purpose and make a lasting impact.

At its core, holistic leadership involves striving to become a centered individual who can effectively utilize the principal components of leadership. This goes beyond leading solely from the mind but also integrating the heart and gut instincts. 

It acknowledges the significance of personal growth and transformation at the individual, team, organizational, and community levels.

Click here to read 8 Guiding Business Pillars of LEAD Diligently and their relation to the human body.

To be a holistic leader, one must develop insight and self-awareness, understanding how they perceive and interpret the world. 

This includes exploring the mind’s brain, which involves recognizing and working with mental models – explaining how things work and intuitive perceptions about our actions and consequences.

The heart plays a vital role in holistic leadership as it is the center of:

  • Inspiration
  • Motivation
  • Drive

Acknowledging and embracing emotions is essential, as they provide valuable insights and information.

Leaders who listen and show respect for themselves and others create an environment where individuals feel accepted, valued, and can contribute meaningfully. 

Motivational theories such as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs emphasize the importance of respect, self-esteem, and a sense of belonging.

Intuition, or the brain of the gut, is another aspect of holistic leadership that relies on instinct and feeling rather than solely on data and facts. Leaders who leverage their intuition alongside their knowledge and experience are better equipped to:

  • Evaluate situations
  • Make decisions
  • Navigate uncertainties

Intuition shapes a leader’s thinking, enabling them to read the situation and know instinctively which actions to take.

The transformative impact of a holistic approach to leadership lies in its ability to create a more centered and balanced leader who understands the interconnectedness of various aspects of their role. 

With a holistic leadership development approach, leaders can adapt their styles to different circumstances and individuals, fostering a culture of learning and growth.

Through these Holistic Leadership Principles, leaders can have a transformative impact beyond their immediate sphere of influence, creating positive change on a broader scale.

How To Be A More Holistic Leader?

To become a more holistic leader, embrace the core principles upheld by LEAD Diligently, which advocates for a comprehensive and well-rounded approach to leadership, referred to as “Whole + Intentional Leadership Development (WiLD).” 

This approach involves connecting all aspects of your life (“WHOLE”), such as your heart and mind, progress and purpose, and competencies and character. By doing so, you achieve balance, fulfillment, and integration across various domains. 

The next step is to be “INTENTIONAL” in your actions, which means being purposeful and deliberate while applying self-awareness and consideration for others. 

Moreover, embody the qualities of a “LEADER”, someone who influences others with care and conviction while acting with empathy, humility, and concern for their well-being. Leadership also involves taking the initiative and setting an example. 

Finally, understand that “DEVELOPMENT” is a transformative journey of growth and change. Embrace the challenges and discomforts of development. 

LEAD Diligently provides an engaging WiLD Toolkit framework to support you throughout this journey.

How to Bring Your Whole Self Into Leading Others?

Holistic leadership is about embracing and bringing your whole self to the role of a leader. It means being genuine and open in your approach, rather than hiding parts of yourself to fit into a specific mold. 

To achieve holistic leadership, start by understanding and accepting your strengths, weaknesses, values, and passions. This self-awareness will help you make informed decisions and lead with integrity. 

Secondly, cultivate empathy and emotional intelligence to connect with your team on a deeper level, understanding their needs and concerns. Authenticity is crucial; show vulnerability when appropriate, as it fosters trust and encourages others to be their authentic selves too. 

Lastly, lead with a growth mindset, constantly learning and adapting to new challenges. By being true to yourself and encouraging authenticity in others, you can create a positive and empowering leadership style that inspires and motivates those around you.

WiLD Leaders – Dr. Rob McKenna and Dr. Tiffany Powell

Why Holistic Leadership Matters?

Holistic leadership matters because it is crucial for the success and well-being of any organization and the broader society it serves. A holistic leader takes a thoughtful and comprehensive approach to decision-making. 

Instead of making choices solely based on personal interests or the organization’s gain, they consider the broader implications of their decisions on their employees, customers, shareholders, and the community.

Holistic leaders start by gathering information and understanding the situation to make wise decisions. They actively listen to different perspectives and challenge their assumptions to avoid biases. 

They weigh the pros and cons of each option, considering both short-term and long-term consequences, as well as potential risks and opportunities.

Moreover, holistic leaders involve their teams and stakeholders in the decision-making process. They recognize that they don’t have all the answers and that collective intelligence can lead to better outcomes. 

Holistic leaders foster a culture of collaboration and trust, encouraging open communication and feedback.

A crucial aspect of holistic leadership is corporate social responsibility (CSR). Holistic leaders understand the importance of acting ethically and sustainably. 

They consider their decisions’ environmental, social, and governance impacts, aiming to positively influence society and the environment while generating value for stakeholders.

Furthermore, they prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Creating an inclusive environment where everyone feels valued and heard is essential for better decision-making. 

Embracing diversity brings different perspectives and ideas, contributing to more effective leadership.

Thus holistic leaders recognize that their organization is part of a larger ecosystem, and their choices can impact the world beyond their immediate sphere of influence.

Learn why holistic leadership matters. Unlock its potential for personal growth and organizational success.

The Powerful Synergy of Ethical Leadership And Holistic Leadership:

What Is Ethical Leadership? And how can it be relatable with Holistic Leadership? 

Ethical leadership encompasses principles, values, and behaviors that prioritize moral and ethical considerations in decision-making skills and actions. It involves leading with integrity, honesty, fairness, and a commitment to the greater good. 

Ethical leaders demonstrate transparency, accountability, and respect for individuals and their rights. Holistic Leadership Development involves understanding oneself, integrating different dimensions of intelligence (mind, heart, gut), and considering the holistic well-being and growth of individuals, teams, organizations, and communities.

By combining ethical leadership and holistic leadership, leaders can create a robust and comprehensive approach to leading others. 

When a leader embodies both ethical leadership and holistic leadership, they can have a profound influence on both their personal and organizational development.

Here are some key impacts:

Personal Growth: 

Integrating ethical and holistic leadership promotes the leader’s personal growth and self-awareness. By consistently practicing ethical behavior, the leader cultivates a solid moral compass and develops a deeper understanding of their values and principles. 

Simultaneously, the holistic approach to leadership encourages self-reflection and the exploration of different dimensions of intelligence leading to personal transformation and enhanced leadership effectiveness.

Authenticity and Trust: 

Ethical leadership fosters trust and authenticity. When leaders consistently demonstrate ethical conduct, they build a reputation for integrity and reliability. This trust creates a positive environment where open communication and collaboration thrive. 

Additionally, holistic leadership emphasizes self-awareness and encourages leaders to lead authentically, aligning their actions with their values. This authenticity enhances credibility and strengthens the leader’s influence within the organization.

Organizational Culture: 

Ethical and holistic leadership significantly impact the cultural transformation that accelerates results. By consistently upholding ethical standards, leaders set a strong example for others.

This fosters a moral climate within the organization, where ethical decision-making skills become the norm and guide the behavior of employees at all levels. 

The holistic perspective emphasizes the well-being of individuals, teams, and the overall organization. As a result, it cultivates a positive and supportive culture that values employee growth, collaboration, and a sense of purpose.

Employee Engagement and Motivation: 

Leaders who integrate ethical and holistic approaches create an environment that promotes employee engagement and motivation. Ethical leadership instills a sense of fairness and justice, making employees feel valued and respected. 

When leaders prioritize the holistic well-being of their employees, considering their personal growth, emotional needs, and work-life balance, it enhances employee satisfaction and commitment. This, in turn, improves productivity, creativity, and overall organizational performance.

Long-Term Success: 

The combination of ethical and holistic leadership contributes to the long-term success of the leader and the organization. Ethical leaders focus on building sustainable relationships and making decisions that benefit all stakeholders. 

This forward-thinking approach helps the organization adapt to changing circumstances, seize opportunities, and maintain a competitive edge. 

Conclusion to Holistic Leadership:

The “Holistic Approach to Leadership Development and WiLD Toolkit” emphasizes a well-rounded and comprehensive way of nurturing influential leaders. 

This method focuses on understanding and addressing various aspects of leadership, including personal growth, communication, and problem-solving skills. The WiLD Toolkit is a practical resource to guide individuals toward becoming holistic leaders.

Leave a comment about what resonated most with you in this holistic leadership approach. Your insights can inspire others on their leadership journey.

How LEAD Diligently Can Help You

Lead Diligently offers expert-led leadership development programs to help you build business executive skills & advance profitable enterprises.

We are on a mission to help our clients gain the clarity they need to wholly pursue their God-given purpose and grow profitable enterprises.


What is a holistic approach to leadership?

A holistic approach to leadership involves integrating leadership qualities across all dimensions of life, including work, home, community, and personal well-being, to achieve genuine contentment and growth.

What is a holistic management style?

A holistic management style prioritizes inclusive decision-making, ethical practices, and sustainable considerations, aiming to benefit the organization and society.

How do you practice holistic leadership?

To practice holistic leadership, focus on building solid relationships, consider the broader impact of decisions, and value diverse perspectives while maintaining ethical and sustainable practices.

Emphasize emotional intelligence and personal development to lead with integrity and adaptability.

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