A poll conducted by the World Economic Forum (2015) found that 86% of respondents perceive that we are facing a global leadership crisis. At the time of this study, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the global ecology in dramatic and widespread ways. In light of this uncertain political, economic, sociological, and ecological climate, humanity is in need of consistent and reliable ways of developing exemplary leaders. As society enters into massive technological advancement, leaders and collaborators are at risk of obsolescence if we do not find innovative ways to harness innate human capacities to advance consciousness and co-evolve with technology. This work examines consciousness research from a neuroscientific, philosophical, spiritual, behavioral, and psychological lens, which provides the foundational basis for the primary inquiry- whether leadership consciousness can be developed in an organizational setting. In order to meet these dynamic, high demand needs, new leadership development programs are required to cultivate integrated leaders that are adept at operating in the physical, analytical, emotional, relational, and spiritual domains. Though contemporary research has independently examined each of these aspects (and found positive relationships with leadership efficacy), this mixed-methods study investigates the impact of whole-person development on leadership consciousness and performance. Thirteen mid-upper management leaders from around the world completed a 10-week, virtual course and took pre- and post- Leadership Practices Inventory assessments in addition to a structured interview. The data was analyzed to understand each participants' experience, perceived improvements to address their leadership challenges, and determine any quantitative changes in leadership efficacy. Subjects displayed statistically significant score changes in all five domains of the LPI and demonstrated significant changes in the majority of domains in comparison to the group that did not receive the treatment. This study concludes with implications for leadership development to address our leadership crisis and leading during times of crisis. These recommendations include the development of relationship-focused communities of practice, anchored in mindfulness meditation as a psychologically-safe context for challenging assumptions, crafting a shared vision, and ideating creative solutions.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Transformational leadership; Emotional intelligence; Organizational change

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Kent Rhodes