The 12 Steps of Addiction Recovery Programs as an influence on leadership development: a personal narrative

Open access

Abstract

My participation in a 12-step addiction program based on the principles and traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) has been critical for my leadership development. As I worked to refrain from addictive behaviors and practiced 12-step principles, I experienced a shift from individualistic, self-centered leadership towards a servant leader orientation. I thus consider the 12-step recovery process, which commenced in 2001, a leadership formative experience (LFE) as it had the greatest influence on my subsequent development. My experience of thinking about and rethinking my life in reference to leadership and followership lends itself to a personal inquiry. It draws on work on the12 steps; self-assessments and personal journal entries; and memory of life events. I aim to contribute to the leadership development literature by exploring the influence of participation in a 12-step recovery program and posing it as an LFE, subjects that have received little attention.

[1] Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. (2001). Alcoholics Anonymous (4th edition). New York: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc

[2] Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. (1981). Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. New York: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc

[3] Avolio, B. J., & Gardner, W. L. (2005). Authentic leadership development: Getting to the root of positive forms of leadership. The leadership quarterly, 16(3), 315-338

[4] Banutu-Gomez, M.B. (2004). Great leaders teach exemplary followership and serve as servant leaders. Journal of American Academy of Business, 4(1/2), 143-151

[5] Barciela, S. (1998). Dharamshala dreaming: A traveler’s search for the meaning of work. From Spears, L.C. (Ed.), Insights on leadership. New York: John Wiley & Sons

[6] Bennis, W.G., & Thomas, R.J. (2002). Geeks & geezers: How era, values, and defining moments shape leaders. Boston: Harvard Business School Press

[7] Billot, J., West, D., Khong, L., Skorobohacz, C., Roxå, T., Murray, S., & Gayle, B. (2013). Followership in higher education: Academic teachers and their formal leaders. Teaching and Learning Inquiry: The ISSOTL Journal, 1(2), 91-103

[8] Bion, W. R. (1961). Experiences in groups: And other papers. New York: Routledge

[9] Block, P. (1993). Stewardship: Choosing service over self interest. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers

[10] Block, P. (1998). From leadership to citizenship. In Spears, L. C. (1998). Insights on leadership: Service, stewardship, spirit, and servant-leadership. John Wiley & Sons

[11] Carnes, P. (2012). A gentle path through the twelve steps: The classic guide for all people in the process of recovery. Center City, Minnesota: Hazelden Publishing

[12] Carsten, M. K., Uhl-Bien, M., West, B. J., Patera, J. L., & McGregor, R. (2010). Exploring social constructions of followership: A qualitative study. The Leadership Quarterly, 21(3), 543-562

[13] Chaleff, I. (2009). The courageous follower: Standing up to & for our leaders. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers

[14] Claar, V. V., Jackson, L. L., & TenHaken, V. R. (2014). Are Servant Leaders Born or Made? Servant Leadership, 46

[15] Cox, R. W., Plagens, G. K., & Sylla, K. (2010). The Leadershipfollowership dynamic: Making the choice to follow. International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, 5(8)

[16] Cunha, M. P., Rego, A., Clegg, S., & Neves, P. (2013). The case for transcendent followership. Leadership, 9(1), 87-106

[17] Denzin, N. K. (1993). The alcoholic society: Addiction and recovery of the self. Piscataway, NJ: Transaction Publishers

[18] Dossett, W. (2013). Addiction, spirituality and 12-step programmes. International Social Work, 56(3), 369-383

[19] Ellis, C., Adams, T. E., & Bochner, A. P. (2011). Autoethnography: an overview. Historical Social Research/Historische Sozialforschung, 273-290

[20] emerald, E., & Carpenter, L. (2016). “Autoethnography: Is my own story narrative research?” From Dwyer, R., Davis, I., & emerald, e., Narrative research in practice: Stories from the field. Singapore: Springer

[21] Friedman, M. (2016). My evolution as a higher education leader and follower. In Mitchell, P., & Ramirez, S. (Eds.). Lessons in leadership: Tips for an emerging P-20 leader in the 2lst century. Los Gatos, CA: Robertson Publishing

[22] George, J. M. (2000). Emotions and leadership: The role of emotional intelligence. Human relations, 53(8), 1027-1055

[23] Greenleaf, R. (1970). The servant as leader. From Spears, L.C. (Ed.), Insights on Leadership. New York: John Wiley & Sons

[24] Groves, D. H. (1972). Charismatic leadership in Alcoholics Anonymous. A case study. Quarterly journal of studies on alcohol, 33(3), 684-691

[25] Hughes, R. L., Ginnett, R. C., & Curphy, G. J. (2006). Leadership: Enhancing the lessons of experience (5th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill/Irwin

[26] Janson, A., Popper, M., Blyde, P., Markwick, L., & Ranatunga, C. (2008). Extracting leadership knowledge from formative experiences. Leadership, (4)1, 73-94. doi:

[27] Kaskutas, L.A., Borkman, T., Laudet, A., Ritter, L.A., Witbrodt, J., Subbaraman, M., & Bond, J. (2014). Elements that define recovery: The experiential perspective. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. 75(6), 999-1010

[28] Kelley, R. E. (1992). The power of followership. New York: Currency Doubleday

[29] Kelley, R. E. (2008). Rethinking followership. From Riggio, R. E., Chaleff, I., & Lipman-Blumen, J. (Eds.). (2008). The art of followership: How great followers create great leaders and organizations (Vol. 146). New York: John Wiley & Sons, 5-16

[30] Kempster, S. (2007). “Echoes from the past”: An exploration of the impact of “notable people” on leadership learning. In Academy of Management Annual Meeting Proceedings (1-6). Academy of Management. Retrieved from http://0-search.ebscohost.com.ignacio.usfca.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=bth&AN=26536349&site=eds-live&scope=site

[31] Kouzes, J.M. (1998). Finding your voice. From Spears, L.C. (Ed.), Insights on leadership. New York: John Wiley & Sons

[32] Maister, D., Green, C.H., & Galford, R.M. (2000). The trusted advisor. New York: The Free Press

[33] McShane, S.L., & Von Glinow, M. (2013). Organizational behavior (6th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin

[34] Mitroff, I. I., & Denton, E. A. (1999). A study of spirituality in the workplace. MIT Sloan Management Review, 40(4), 83-92

[35] Northouse, P. G. (2016). Leadership: Theory and practice (7th edition). Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications

[36] Pittman, P., & Weber, T. (1992). Drop the rock: Removing character defects. Center City, Minnesota: Hazelden Publishing & Educational Services.

[37] Richardson, R., & St. Pierre, E.A. (2000). Writing: A method of inquiry. From Denzin, N.K. & Lincoln, Y.S. (Eds.). Handbook of Qualitative Research (2nd edition). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications

[38] Robbins, L. (1992). Designing more functional organizations: the 12 step model. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 5(4), 41-58

[39] Schutte, N. S., Malouff, J. M., Hall, L. E., Haggerty, D. J., Cooper, J. T., Golden, C. J., & Dornheim, L. (1998). Development and validation of a measure of emotional intelligence. Personality and individual differences, 25(2), 167-177

[40] Shamir, B., & Eilam, G. (2005). “What’s your story?” A life-stories approach to authentic leadership development. The Leadership Quarterly, 16, 395-417

[41] Sparrowe, R.T. (2005). Authentic leadership and the narrative self. The Leadership Quarterly, 16, 419-439

[42] Tillmann, Lisa M. (2009). Body and bulimia revisited: Reflections on “A Secret Life.” Journal of Applied Communication Research, 37(1), 98-112

[43] Uhl-Bien, M., Riggio, R. E., Lowe, K. B., & Carsten, M. K. (2014). Followership theory: A review and research agenda. The Leadership Quarterly, 25(1), 83-104

[44] Valverde, M., & White-Mair, K. (1999). ‘One day at a time’ and other slogans for everyday life: the ethical practices of alcoholics anonymous. Sociology, 33(2), 393-410

[45] White Jr., R. D. (2010). The micromanagement disease: Symptoms, diagnosis, and cure. Public Personnel Management, 39(1), 71-76

[46] Whiteside, K. (2013). Identifying the impact of 12-step programs on executives’ leadership styles. Unpublished master’s thesis. Pepperdine University

Journal Information

Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 957 807 73
PDF Downloads 504 479 37