Feature Article: The Nature of Transpersonal Leadership: Building Potentiating Relationships

Mark McCaslin

The gift we hold within is for the others we meet without.


Mark McCaslinThis much I know to be true, the easiest way to cripple a person for life is to make them blind to their greatest potentials. And regrettably, the easiest way to become this crippling force is to neglect your own emerging potential. Without an intention aimed at the full actualization of our own potential and the potentials of those we would lead leadership pursuits will always fall just short of satisfactory. Unfortunately too many existing leadership models and theories have inadvertently become proficient at this crippling effect either by the crushing pressures thrust upon the leader or through the stifling of the creative potentials of those who would follow. Both are far too common in today’s human ecology. Even the very best leadership theories, to include the servant leadership movement, seem unable to redress this crippling effect. Granted that the relationship movement of leadership studies, to include the whole of the transformative movement, walked us to the very brink of a solution to this perennial problem. Nonetheless, simply conveying leadership as a relationship among leaders and followers aimed at addressing some common or even lofty purpose left us marooned in the shallows of limitation without articulating a way towards actualizing the greatest potentials held by the leader ( potentiator) and those they would lead ( potentiate). The leadership of potential, a transpersonal leadership, holds an address to this perennial problem.

There are potentiating movements to be found within the daily endeavors of leaders, teachers, and parents for those seeking a deeper understanding and a healthier way of being for themselves and those they lead, teach, and love. As of yet such potentiating movements seem relegated to margins of society, remain largely undiscovered in very special communities of practice, lay hidden in the recesses of bureaucracies, or are shrouded in spiritual traditions and practices. As the shroud is lifted what we find is ordinary people creating new ways to greet their own potential and the potentials held by another. As a leadership scholar, a career educator, and parent I have felt the goodness of this emergent and evolving way of leading, teaching and parenting—of potentiating.

At this stage in the evolution of leadership studies there seems to be an emergent and collective need for illuminating a philosophy, principles and the practices that would ultimately lead to my own greater good as a leader, teacher, or parent as well as the greater good of those I would lead, teach, or parent. Collectively I named these the potentiating arts and those who would employ them (leaders, teachers, and parents) aspotentiators. There is a perfect need for this philosophy of potential for anyone seeking the best for themselves and for those who they would potentiate – for their associates, students, and children. People are hungry for this way towards the goodness of actualizing their own potential and for a way to actualize the potentials of their associates, students, and children absent the prevailing conflicts that too often infect our current conditions and growth paths. The need for the transpersonal leader, the potential leader, is rising and will continue to rise as we come to recognize that the problems and challenges we face today and in the future will require a new approach and a greater wisdom found only as we engage in the possibilities of our own potential and the potentials held by another.

One foundational distinction needs to be made concerning the nature of transpersonal leadership. The potential leaders are unique among leaders in that they hold the discipline of self care. What this means is that the potential leader cares as much about their own potential as they do for others. They are not proficient in the arts of self-laceration or self-deception. This does not imply that they are self-serving. Quite the contrary, they have come to realize that as they seek their greatest potential they grow their own capacity to potentiate another. The potential leadersdo not get used up and burned out; they just get better. They become curious and proficient at learning about the nature of human potential. They hold a deep seated respect for life and growth—they are like gardeners. In short, they become learning leaders. In terms of the potentiating arts this ultimately creates healthier leaders, teachers, and parents which correspondently create healthier associates, students, and children. The potential leader understands the potentiating implications of a deep human ecology.

“I have known true alchemists,” the alchemist continued. “They locked themselves in their laboratories, and they tried to evolve, as gold had. And they found the Philosopher’s Stone, because they understood that when something evolves, everything around that thing evolves as well.” (Coelho, 1993, p.137)

The Potential Leader

The purpose of this essay is to introduce one important aspect of the nature of transpersonal leadership, that of course being the nature of relationships within this potentiating domain. As we begin such an exploration I feel it essential to reveal the basic nature of the potentiating leader.

Potentiating leadersare self aware. They are able to hold space for themselves and others by setting intentions, opening awareness, sustaining attention, and by way of a welcoming acceptance. Potentiating leaders are forever open to learning. As they engage the relationship they ask; “What have you come to teach me?” They are expert listeners, not solely because of discipline and practice, but also due to a deep seated curiosity so present in a life of potential. Potentiating leaders are able to suspend the vector and velocity of their daily activities and thoughts. This means they act on the urgency of the moment—the urgency does not act on them. Their equanimity is contagious. They are mindful of their interactions as they understand the nature of human evolution—that we are all self-evolving. They understand the deep ecology of evolution—that when something evolves everything around it evolves as well. They maintain an elegant prejudice. Their super optimism and vision for the full actualization of potential grants them a peace that stems from a belief in the infinite potential for goodness held by the human ecology.Potentiating leaders, as Maslow (1967) would say, approach life with a “second naiveté” or hold the world with an “innocent eye”. They understand as did Socrates that “wisdom begins with wonder”.

The Purpose of Leadership

An examination of leadership studies, particularly the current apex of transformative leadership, consistently reveals the emergent triad of locating a common purpose, seeking opportunity or possibilities, and building relationships as a way of leading. This triad has become inextricably linked to the evolution of leadership studies and at the very same time formed a complex system of stumbling blocks for the leader to navigate. For one finding and locating a common purpose became exercises in futility. I think we were effectively trying to mimic the power of leadership as seen during moments of crisis, on the battlefield or as it emerged during natural disasters. During such times our common purpose was placed naturally and directly before us. No need for mission statements, strategic plans, or other forms of visioning activities and needs assessments, our purpose was held certain by all in the relationship—our commonality was our bond.

For the potentiating leader, the transpersonal leader, there is no need for this exercise as our purpose is always the same – to seek ways in which we can actualize our own potential as we engage the process of fully actualizing the potential of those we would lead, teach or parent. Without such a meta-purpose I am quite certain, given the evidence of our prevailing condition, that the best we can hope for from existing approaches to leadership is a dysfunctional desperate neutrality – that place where nothing is really quite wrong and nothing is really quite possible. To be without momentum, without real purpose, is a condition addressed by the potentiating leader in that their full and intended purpose is the actualization of the human potentials placed before them to include their own.

Given this meta-purpose all remaining energies may be leveraged at seeking the opportunities and the possibilities of the organization, school, community, or family to pursue its greatest potential. Transpersonal leadership engages the creative energies of all in the relationship towards building the effective organization, school, or family. The real energy of any organization was never held by a static mission statement or by the latest strategic plan. The real energy is held by the opportunities and possibilities presented to the organization by its people for building the products of their potentials. These products would include a healthy bottom line as well as an understanding of their top line; it would include leveraging the creative gifts of the people towards softening perennial problems and elevating infinite possibilities; and, as potentials actualize so too does happiness, health, and faith – a faith born from gifts of potential and strengthened by their actualization. In the end all that remains for the potentiator, the transpersonal leader, to actualize are relationships of potential. This is the way of a wise organization. This is the way of a community of potential.

The Philosophical Center

Before progressing further let me state with clarity that the purpose of this writing is not to critique the evolution of leadership studies but to extend its reach. The purpose here is to fully examine and understand the farther reaches of a leadership as the art of actualizing human potential. There is an evolving need to reconsider the purpose of leadership as a higher contemplation towards the full actualization of human potential. To refocus the current leadership practices, principles, and philosophies upon this greater and farther reaching purpose. To awaken the notion that the human potential lying dormant within any organization is more than a match for the problems we face today and tomorrow. In that regard this work begins and ends with the very same notion – All people have value.

You may question such a simple notion . The horrific characters of human history plague your thoughts; “What about serial killers, perpetuators of genocide …what about Adolph Hitler?” My response is through the words of Victor Frankl, the creator of logotherapy and a survivor of a Nazi concentration camp. Dr. Frankl was once asked if Hitler could have been saved with his logotherapy techniques. This was an interesting question to pose when you consider Dr. Frankl’s horrific experience of being both victim and witness to the holocaust. One could have forgiven Dr. Frankl an unkind word, but his response is instructive for our purposes; “Hitler should have been an artist. Would have been an artist, but for one kind word.”

And now the whole of this potentiating philosophy becomes crystal as the “one kind word” comes into focus. What I now hold up for my learners, adult and children alike, is true too for every teacher, parent, leader, …every person – all people; all people have value and this value must be shared, must be announced, else it fails to actualize or corrupts towards evil.As such transpersonal leadership is a moral imperative.Transpersonal leadership is first and foremost an ethical approach towards the full actualization of human potential. Transpersonal leadership is represented primarily as a dynamic and synergistic relationship between the potentiator(s) and the collection of human potentials within the human ecology. Together they are seeking a balanced development of the intellectual, emotional, spiritual, physical, social, and creative expression aspects of the potentiator and the collective creating opportunities to actualize a deep ecological wisdom.

The Nature of Leadership

From the perspective of this potentiating way of being leadership is recognized as a synergistic relationship creating a mature and welcoming approach for the gifts held by the leader and those they would lead. Leadership from this perspective holds a deep seated appreciation for the beauty held by the individual as well as for the goodness that can be created through these relationships of potential. Transpersonal leadership is without exception represented by a higher way of valuing human potential. It is super-optimistic and if it errors at all it errors on the side of over-estimating the possible when it comes to people. It holds a deep seated faith in the possibility of potential.

Leadership as this higher order transpersonal value sets itself apart from more pedestrian definitions by being ageless, incorruptible, and unyielding in principle, while inspiring hope, creativity, and empowerment towards the full actualization of human potential in practice. In searching for the farther reaches of human nature Abraham Maslow (1971) stated the following tenet: “On the whole …I think it is fair to say that human history is a record of the ways in which human nature has been sold short. The highest possibilities of human nature have practically always been underestimated.” This tenet holds the centerline for transpersonal leadership. In most instances in today’s organizations leadership has been demoted from its true nature. Taken as a higher order value it may yet be possible to purify leadership’s promise and in turn realize the highest possibilities of human nature and human goodness.

There is good reason to believe that leadership has a set and higher order pattern to its nature. In contemplating the nature of leadership Burns (1978) asked a critical question: “Supposing we could find species-wide commonalties among hierarchies of wants and needs, could we also find common stages and levels of moral development and reasoning emerging out of those wants and needs?” Burns was attempting to build the case that leadership brings an opportunity to raise all people to higher levels of morality and expectations – to include the leader. As such, he was positioning leadership as a higher-order metamotivational and transpersonal value. So defined, leadership must have a common and unchanging foundation. Common because it is available to all, and unchanging because it only functions effectively as a higher order construct of human relationships dedicated to the full actualization of human potential.

Metamotives of Leadership

In its ideal form leadership would be represented by the meta-needs, or metamotive values of what must be beautiful, good, perfect, just, simple, orderly, lawful, alive, comprehensive, unitary, dichotomy-transcending, effortless, and amusing (Maslow, 1971) as well as embracing approaches to the whole person. As they appear linked, this would include a welcoming and hopeful pursuit of creativity and the growth of potential. In describing the theory of metamotivation Maslow (1971) referred to self-actualizing individuals, having gratified their basic needs, “are now motivated in other higher ways, to be called ‘metamotivations’” (p. 289). Maslow’s use of the prefix “meta” was beyond the traditional positivist’s meaning of “after” or “with”. His usage took on a much more spiritual meaning, more transcendental in its reference. “Motivated in higher ways” demonstrates a desire to move beyond current levels of expectation and beyond our fears. What Maslow (1971) was seeking were answers to what he referred to as the “Jonah Complex”:

We fear our highest possibilities (as well as our lowest ones). We are generally afraid to become that which we can glimpse in our most perfect moments, under the most perfect conditions, under conditions of greatest courage. We enjoy and even thrill to the godlike possibilities we see in ourselves in such peak moments. And yet we simultaneously shiver with weaknesses, awe, and fear before these same possibilities. (p. 34)

Leadership, as we know it today teeters on this fulcrum. Is leadership the path to our greatest potentialities for creativity, emotional health, and spiritual clarity? Or, is it truly only a myth created to satisfy our fear of our highest possibilities? The ideal of a fully actualizing human ecology (a community of potential) begs a kinder approach and introduces a more courageous and faithful path for the potentiator to travel. In the end we often discover that the bulk of our fears have been but measures of fantasy. And finally, beyond myth, real fear is revealed to the potentiator; the fear of a potential lost, stolen, defeated or left wanting. To champion the full actualization of the human potentials before us is perhaps the greatest act of courage and expression of faith anyone person can do for another.

All of this relates to the Socratic belief that no man will willingly choose falsehood over truth or evil over good. The assumption here is that ignorance makes the bad choice possible. Not only this, but also the whole of Jeffersonian democratic theory is based on the conviction that full knowledge leads to right action, and the right action is impossible without full knowledge. (Maslow, 1971)

The Landscape of Leadership

The landscape of leadership can be roughly sketched by three conceptually related ideals. The first is the essentiality of a common purpose, mission, or creed. The ideal represented by commonality of purpose is essentially the glue that holds the organization or community together. Commonality of purpose guides the organization towards some preferred future or towards the production of attributes or products desired by its members and consumers. As stated earlier, the purpose of transpersonal leadership, the leadership of human potential, is given as actualizing their own potential and the potentials held by those they would lead. The purposes held above remain secondary to this meta-purpose. A second ideal is that of opportunity, vision, or possibilities. This represents the creative function or outlet of leadership. Opportunity, as an ideal, presents itself as the creative focus. It is largely the vehicle of discovering new and sustainable futures for the community or organization. An ideal that when absent may cause the organization to lapse into ineffectiveness and obsolescence. The last ideal is the function of relationships. It has been widely theorized that the relationship between those who lead and those who would follow, at any given moment in the daily organizational flow, is critical to the long-term health of the organization. In many foundational leadership studies it is the nature of this relationship that has become the critical focus (Rost, 1990; Kelly, 1992; Wheatley, 1992; and Block, 1993). Relationships, as an ideal, are effectively the energy that fuels leadership. This fuel exists in the form of human capital, or more accurately, in the human potential within the organization. As a function of the landscape of leadership it has been shown to directly impact the organization’s ability to effectively deliver on its described purpose and capitalize on its creative energy.

Holistically, leadership must represent some synergistic combination of relationships opportunity and purpose. Since the inception of the relationships ideal in leadership studies, clarified in 1990 by Joe Rost, we have seen many attempts at defining and refining the potential natures of leadership (Spears, 1998). My own definition, a transpersonal definition; where leadership is represented primarily as a dynamic and synergistic relationship between the potentiator(s) and the collection of human potentials within the human ecology that are seeking a balanced development of the intellectual, emotional, spiritual, physical, social, and creative expression aspects of the potentiator and the collective creating opportunities to actualize a deep ecological wisdom, is grounded in transpersonal studies and in Rost’s (1990) definition of transformative leadership. The purpose of this essay is to begin to discuss the nature of relationships as they relate to leadership as a potentiating art. In due course, the ideals of purpose and opportunity will be treated in kind furthering our understanding of the landscape of transpersonal leadership.

The Framework of Metamotives

To fully appreciate the nature of relationships within the dynamic of leadership we must first place it within some distinctive framework. Within the framework of metamotives we are beyond the domain of deficiency needs (Maslow, 1954) and working squarely within meta-needs, or the ‘being’ domain (Maslow, 1968). This is important point for this discussion, for much of what goes awry in the relationships ideal has nothing to do with the actualization of metamotives, as often ascribed to the nature of leadership, but with relationships that are still working through the deficiency motives. We may refer to this as pseudo-leadership or perhaps simply leading where efficiency of objects is valued over the effectiveness of relationships. However, it must be clearly defined as leading without a metamotivational or potentiating backbone. The beginnings of the necessary metamotive framework for understanding the nature of leadership rests within Maslow’s (1954) original work in deficiency needs shown in Figure 1.

McCaslin 1

Within Maslow’s needs hierarchy rest the counter-productive opportunities to undo effective potentiating relationships required by the nature of transpersonal leadership. Relationships built within the deficiency domain are often fraught with manipulation, deception, coercion, and intimidation. These characteristics are often played out in the forms of positional tactics, gamesmanship, entrenchment, misinformation, defensiveness, and other behaviors and actions counter to productive and healthy leadership. Leadership, as a metamotivational value, struggles at this level because the deficiency needs are prepotent to the metamotivational values. Within the deficiency domain the relationships within the leadership dynamic can become twisted and bent as the struggle for human potential becomes caught between two forces that limit growth, creativity, spirituality, and empowerment. Figure 2 captures this power dynamic.

McCaslin 2

While it is a requirement that the growth of human potential within the individual move through the deficiency needs hierarchy towards the self-actualizing condition, transpersonal leadership as a relationship cannot effectively toil at these prepotent levels. It is here where the unwise leader can get used up and burned out as they go chasing and endless conveyor of problems. Transpersonal leadership in general represents a combination of higher-order metamotivational dynamics. These dynamics can be explained by meta-needs or metamotives which then help to locate leadership, and then the relationships that are leadership, squarely within the metamotive domain. In other words, the potentiating leaderchanges the rules of the game. They recognize that the linearity of the deficiency domain is but an illusion. They do not lower themselves into the deficiency domain in some move of sagacity. They reveal the quantum nature of the full growth continuum (as shown in figure 3). This reveal doesn’t change the nature of the growth path; it simply cast it in the complete light of potential.

McCaslin 3

This is an extremely important point for it frees both the potentiatorand the signifier (named such for signification of the potential being revealed) from a mentality of deficits and limitations and opens the awareness of opening horizon of our potential both individually and collectively. In other words the individual does not need to be experiencing metamotivation or even self-actualization to experience or be part this potentiating leadership dynamic as it is revealed to be but a single and complete leadership dynamic.

If one were now to contemplate the typical growth path it would be revealed, given the above shift, that we seem to require relationships with others in order to move more fully towards our greatest potential both individually and collectively. This reveal is what leaves so many of us unhappy in our independence – in our freedom. To be free was thought be a higher way of living. But we discovered that freedom without a connection to others, without a connection to service, was empty and almost anarchical in its design. Our greatest potential could not be found in freedom alone. For that we would need to engage others. We would need to become more and more interdependent.

So we need relationships. David Abram (1996) suggests that we are even “tuned” for relationship. I find it fascinating that nearly every philosopher, educational theorist, theories concerning the life span as well as those concerning human growth and development construct growth paths that speak to our abilities to form and maintain relationships with others. Furthermore, without relationships with others we cannot effectively explore our higher natures. The path towards our great potential spirals through our interdependent wants and needs – it spirals through a community of potential.

In examining the relationships found along these paths it would appear that our need for interdependence is connected to our basic needs towards self-actualization and further towards our higher natures discovered as we become metamotivated. This is the catalysts to a great and wonderful shift in consciousness. Again, the constructed growth paths (Kolberg 1981, Erikson 1982, Maslow 1954, 1968, 1971, Hagberg 1994, Rogers 1961, Csikszentmihalyi, 1990) seem to suggest that our higher natures are not accessible entirely alone. It would appear that our ability to relate with one another is a critical stage process in order to ascertain our higher natures. So we seek each other out in order to form a more complete platform from which we can begin to explore together the second level of unification – the unification of potential. Furthermore, and this is the point, if we as potentiators fully appreciated the highest possibilities of being human, we would be less inclined to use the heavy behavioral modifying tools found in the early years of our educational journey for we would begin to see their negative imprints as our students attempt to actualized their potential in later life. To be overly dramatic, it would be like running two reels of a person’s life side by side. On one reel we would find the monster, the Adolph Hitler, the wounded; on the other we would find the artist, the Martin Luther King Jr., the metamotivated. The actualization of the latter and extinguishing of the former begins with our ability to relate. With relationships becoming more central to the growth of potential we would also produce less need for psychoanalytical rescues and more need for creativity, imagination, and play. We would become completely taken by our associates, students, and children just as we are often taken by a beautiful sunset. We would learn to let them be and come to appreciate their full possibilities.

People are just as wonderful as sunsets if I can let them be. In fact, perhaps the reason we can truly appreciate a sunset is that we can’t control it. When I look at a sunset as I did the other evening, I don’t find myself saying, “Soften the orange a little on the right hand corner, and put little more purple along the base and use a little more pink in the cloud color”. I don’t do that. I don’t try and control a sunset. I watch it with awe as it unfolds. (Rogers, 1961)

Servant Leadership’s Contribution

Robert Greenleaf’s (1977) work in servant leadership revealed the first concerted effort to overcome the deficiency need domain by addressing the typical reaction to the four heavy propositions of manipulation, deception, intimidation and coercion. Recognizing leadership as a higher order value, Greenleaf sought ways of elevating the common man to higher levels of morality expectations through the element of service (Spears, 1995, 1998). The characteristics of servant leadership were directed at changing the nature of our response to negative counter forces. Greenleaf recognized the significant differences between the potentialities held by the individual and their external expression. This has been made even more difficult by the presence of societal norms impressing standards on external expression. Therefore, the development of individual potentialities weakens, and in their place we find rigid norms that call the individual to surrender to some artificial and mediocre standard. While not representing the complete solution, servant leadership did raise the hopes of the individual and his ability to discover more of his innate potentials. Figure 4 details the change.

McCaslin 4

What is revealed here for the wise leader is that actions taken within relationships are not so much about the strength of the object to be defended or the force of the discontentment, what matters most is the quality of the response. The potentiatorpractices quality responses.

Having established the importance of the relationship dynamic in play within transpersonal leadership it becomes critical to reconnect to the individual within this potentiating relationship. Too often we do not examine why an individual is drawn to the relationship in the first place. If we can effectively remove the specter of negative functioning relationships, i.e. the effects of deception, manipulation, coercion, and intimidation, then we are left with the more positive aspects of the growing personality or individual. Such positive aspects are attractive to human sensibilities. Thus individuation and relationship are connected. Individuation through leadership as a metamotivational value enhances the opportunities to actualize human potentialities. Because it no longer attempts to define leadership as a mere product of the relationship it becomes free to take on many attributes that on the surface seem conflicting. It can be self-serving, organizational-serving, and altruistic in nature all at once. Individuals within the organization are often interested in these potentiating relationships because of how it advances their own growth and development without impinging upon the growth and development of others – an ethical individualism.

Effective leadership relationships recognize that the organization is enhanced by the growth of the individual. If opportunities are provided that inspire and encourage growth and development that spring from leadership as a potentiating art it then becomes possible to reconstruct or redirect the forces working upon the human potential of our organizations. These potentiating values work in harmony to create continuing opportunities to lift the individual and larger community to higher levels of morality and expectations. Moving beyond current levels of understanding and expectation is the promise of leadership when taken as a synergistic and dynamic relationship.

The essential aspects of the relationship approach to leadership are too often under or unemployed. We simply do not know or appreciate the full weight of the power that this aspect has on the organization itself. Given that so many projects, actions, or activities surrounding existing leadership paradigms miss their mark or never quite leverage their full potential, it would seem curious not to examine the nature of relationships to be revealed by a potentiating leadership.

When relationships are addressed within existing leadership models it is unfortunately done in a very meaningless manner. A typical action is a demeaning post hoc assessment where more aim is directed at blame than on corrective action in general. Here our history always seems to speak louder than our possible futures. Manipulation, deception, intimidation and coercion drive down individual growth. These four behaviors, so typical within many organizations, effectively limit the growth of human potential. This leaves us, as Bill Plotkin (2003) states, “undeveloped and overly hardened”. That transpersonal leadership is by default antonymous with these destructive behaviors is indicative of its importance from corrective and potentiating action. Leadership as a metamotivational value can bring together the purpose, opportunity, and the relationships that are leadership and connect these potentiating forces to the full actualization of human potential – these are the potentiating arts. What remains distal and yet desires to be proximal is the nature of relationships. That leadership is a dynamic and synergistic relationship among leaders and followers is fairly well agreed upon (Rost, 1990; Kelly, 1992; Block, 1993). The true essence of leadership does not rest within the leader or within those who would follow. The true nature of the relationship that is leadership rest within the conjunction “and” (Wheatley, 1992) that represents that intersubjective space between you and I. By understanding and improving what goes on among those in the relationship by way of fostering a potentiating approach will ultimately lead to more individuals actualizing their greatest potential to include the potentials held by the leader.

The Nature of Relationships

In order for leadership to function as a potentiating art it must be able to reach into the deficiency needs domain with faith and understanding. Faith for the potential yet to fully actualize and understanding for the challenges each must face in seeking their highest possibility. The examination of leadership as a relationship reveals six levels of interaction of interest to the potentiator. The first three are the self-actional, intra-actional, and inter-actional levels of human interaction. These levels of relationships exist primarily within the deficiency needs domain and can be looked at as developmental constructs and as potential barriers to growth and development. The fourth level of human interaction is thetransactional. It is predominately represented by Maslow’s self-actualizing individual. The fifth and transformational level of human interaction is largely an expression of Maslow’s metamotivational domain. The sixth and final level of relationship is represented by the transpersonal frontiers.At this level of relationship the nature of being can be triangulated by way of a radiant ontology of action (Figure 5) that includes the relationships we hold with others – the emotional or the growth we come to through others; the relationship we hold with Providence – the spiritual or growth we come to through transcendence; and, the relationship we hold with our own ever emergent potential – the functional or the growth we come to through the embrace of the alchemical fires of transformation. What follows is a description of these levels and how transpersonal leadership as a radiant ontology of action may influence the full actualization of potential.

McCaslin 5

The shortest route from self to self is through the other. ~Paul Ricoeur

The Self-actional Relationship

A self-actional relationship is a low-level relationship that exists primarily to provide personal gain for only one party in the relationship. It is very typical of dependent or codependent relationships. It is most typically found in children where, in all fairness, the “low-level” descriptor is not quite an accurate or fair label. For children it is an essential and normal relationship given they are dependent on others for most if not all of their basic needs. Getting those needs met is what the self-actional relationship is all about. The way of the potentiator within this relationship is to firmly hold space for the growing individual primarily by way of setting intentions. Potentiators do not allow the drama and trauma of this level of relationship to define them or to become about them. This also models the way for setting intentions – a skill that will aid the development of the relationship.

When this level of relationship behavior continues into adulthood it is often indicative of a stagnation of growth and development within the individual that is magnified by a fear of unmet needs. An apt description of individuals at this level of relationship is powerlessness or power that is tied to others (Hagberg, 1994). Although they may have no real power of their own they are often extremely damaging to organizational dynamics because of their self-centered behaviors. “Looking out for number one” is the motto of this relationship. In many ways it is a relationship with self and the objects of need and it may or may not affect other people. However, when deciding between either benefiting self or community a person only capable of this level of relationship would consistently chose self-interest over community. Individualism is the license that the self-actional relationship centered people call upon to justify their behaviors. These behaviors include proficient use of the heavy propositions of intimidation, manipulation, deception, coercion, and sometimes open abusiveness and hostility.

The potentiator needs to understand that a self-actional relationship is of a one-dimensional nature. While this carries with it several meanings the central meaning of concern for the potentiator is the reality that these individuals are akin to paper tigers. Without care they can be diminished from which recovery can be a slow and costly process. The flow of knowledge and power is tightly controlled by the self-actional relationship due precisely to their vulnerabilities. As a result these individuals are often labeled as ‘selfish’ when ‘afraid’ would be a more apt descriptor. Growth is limited in this relationship because too often all is consumed by the negative energy of manipulation, deception, intimidation, and coercion. Nothing seems to grow in this rocky and desolate ecology. A content individual at this level of relationship is so only because things are going their way. As this condition begins to deteriorate they will do anything they can justify to regain their position or advantage.

Adult members of the organization still working at this level are often hard to like or work with. They tend to cause problems for the organization and can be sources of continual disruptions and conflict. The normal course of action when confronted by such individuals is to ignore them, overpower them, or to remove them from the organization. While all of these actions may seem justified none of them address the larger issue of building human potential. The potentiator realizes that these individuals practicing this level of relationship are effectively powerless. Therefore any power they have is given to them by others. This would include the power given them by way of our responses to the heavy propositions. Thepotentiator does not give away power – they teach the ways of empowerment.

As labor markets continue to stiffen and as skilled positions become more and more critical to the organization and to the community there will be fewer and fewer individuals who will be easily discarded. The potential leader has the ability to reach into this level of relationship because they seek the seed of potential and not a labeling or corrective action alone. Transpersonal leadership seeks to uncover the source of growth stagnation and then guide the individual towards higher levels of relationship interaction. What it comes down to is a simple construct; we simply cannot expect people to know what they have not been taught. To think otherwise only dooms the organization into repeated loops of frustration.

At the self-actional level of relationship, the individual is typically struggling with identity and safety issues. The potentiator can effectively remove these artificial barriers by embracing the individual instead of isolating the individual. Transpersonal leadership recognizes that there is always a much more elegant explanation for people’s poor behaviors than what is apparent on the surface. It holds to the principle that all people have value and that value can be found only when approached with understanding and firm compassion. Table 1 summarizes the self-actional relationship.

Table 1: Summary of the Self-actional Relationship

Rationale for Existence: Survival/Personal Gain

Motto: “Looking out for Number 1”

Behaviors: Use of the heavy propositions in order to secure personal power

Intimidation – Deception – Manipulation – Coercion

Flow of Knowledge: Contained by the individual and is fear based.

Growth Potential: Limited or non-existent without intervention.

The Role of the Potentiator: The way of the potentiator within this relationship is to firmly hold space for the growing individual primarily by way of setting intentions. Potentiators do not allow the drama and trauma of this level of relationship to define them or to become about them. They begin the process of building self-esteem. Supports, mentors, and provides understanding and firm compassion. Seeks to uncover hidden potential.

The Intra-actional Relationship

The intra-actional relationship of human interaction can and often does go unnoticed. Individuals at this level are moving through periods of introspection interspersed with periods of trying out new skills or tactics. Typically an intra-actional relationship is full of ups and downs. Individuals often undergo periods of rapid growth followed by periods of entrenchment. The individual within this relationship is growing in terms of self-esteem and are now seeking a greater understanding of their value. The way of the potentiator within this relationship is to hold space by way of an opening awareness. The potentiator knows that within the nature of reality that all people have value thus they lead here by way of illuminating the value held by another – by way of a deep seated appreciation. This also models the way of seeking the value held by another.

Individuals who are new to the organization often display the characteristic of the intra-actional relationship. To fully understand the potential impact this level of relationship can have on the effectiveness of the organization consider the new employee, volunteer, teacher, etc. Now picture the worst possible model for this new individual. Now picture this worst model modeling behaviors for this new individual. In the end the organization will have more of what it doesn’t want and less of want it needs. More importantly the new individual has not been well served. If anything this scenario diminishes their growth and accelerates their development of defenses leading rapidly to entrenchment.

This scenario is repeated everyday in too many organizations. It is repeated because until now we had no critical concept of the role of leadership at this level of relationship. At the intra-actional level of relationship the individual is primed to be potentiated. This is precisely what they are seeking. Transpersonal leadership honors that journey by way of taking responsibility for enculturation. This is a valuing process where thepotentiator does not seek to strip away individual uniqueness but celebrates that uniqueness and in doing so considers the succeeding evolutions of the community of potential given this emergent uniqueness. That so many new individuals fail to live up to their potential is not a crisis of judgment but a crisis of leadership. The potentiatoraccepts people where they are and then guides or directs them towards possible futures. They model the way, they enculturates, they opens the doors of belongingness to all individuals.

The individual in the intra-actional relationship is open to growth and development. They can also hold a deep fascination with power. If the culture models abuses of power or employs power-over techniques then this relationship will likely retreat to the self-actional level where individualism is defined as looking out for number one. If the culture models empowerment, growth, and development then this individual will be lifted towards the metamotivational values. Table 2 summarizes this discussion.

Table 2: Summary of the Intra-actional Relationship

Rationale for Existence: Personal Acceptance and Growth

Motto: “I think, therefore I am”

Behaviors: The individual is growing in terms of self-esteem and are now seeking a greater understanding of their value.

Learning the ropes – Captivated by a new self-awareness

Lack of confidence – Fascination with power

Flow of Knowledge: Toward the individual.

Growth Potential: Very open to growth and development. Models behaviors of those perceived to have real power.

The Role of Leadership: The highest value of leadership at this level is through modeling the way. The way of the potentiator within this relationship holds space by way of an opening awareness. The potentiator knows the reality of ‘all people have value’ thus they lead here by way of illuminating the value held by another – by way of an deep seated appreciation. This also models the way of seeking the value held by another. They continue building self-esteem and begin to reveal ways to engage the community. Supports, mentors, and provides opportunities to expand their value by sponsoring them in organizational activities. The potentiatorassists in the construction of goals or mission statements that will actualize their potential.

The Inter-actional Relationship

An inter-actional relationship is the interaction between two or more individuals or organizations around a task, conflict, resource, or even a personal disagreement. At this level of relationships issues tend to become polarized. The inter-actional relationship can take on many shapes and forms. It can be symbiotic where the individuals or organizations live in harmony in a mutually beneficial manner. It can take the form ofcommensalism where one benefits without a direct cost to the second. The relationship can be competitive where one wins or gains an advantage while the other loses. Finally, it may be parasitic in nature where one seeks an advantage at the direct expense of the second. The way of thepotentiatorwithin this relationship is by way of holding space through a sustaining attention. These relationships can be complex and often require a great deal of patience and understanding. Therefore sustaining attention over a long period of time is often required. This is where a deep seated spiritual practice allows the potentiatorthe flexibility and stamina to see it through without acquiring personal harm or stress.

Depending on the type of interaction, life can be driven by mutuality, indifference, aggressiveness, or mistrust. In a symbiotic relationship common purposes or mutuality is the focus of the relationship. It is here that two individuals, communities, or cultures could co-exist in relative peace. If they were bonded by mutual purposes with the intent to create real change then the focusing of their combined power and resources could approach synergism. The reason that a synergistic relationship cannot evolve through an inter-actional relationship is due to the depth of the interaction. These relationships tend to be shallow in that they focus on an issue rather than individual growth. That being the case, the inter-actional relationship is often superficial and is easily polarized. Issues and events dominate this level of relationship. The relationships at this level often force the individual into black or white, right or wrong, pass or fail thinking in order to maintain their position or status.

For an example of a symbiotic inter-actional relationship, consider the politics surrounding the abortion issue in this country. If you support the pro-life movement your relationship with another who shares your views tends to focus on this one issue and in this regard benefits all in this relationship. This tends to create relationships that are one-dimensional. Your ability to create change within this relationship is based solely on one purpose and it is relative only to your own views; it may or may not reflect the mutual purposes of all people. It has a tendency to be of a very shallow nature not allowing for transcendence, mediation, or change that may affect the one cause. You are either part of the solution or part of the problem.

In a commensalistic relationship one individual seeks or requires the benefit or help from another who will not benefit from the relationship. On the other hand, there is no expense of resources of any form to the other. Within this framework a relationship can approach the relationship common in mentorship (a synergistic relationship). The reason it doesn’t is two-fold: 1) the would be mentor does not seek to deepen the relationship; 2) the relationship is focused on quick fix shallow undertakings. This type of relationship has little if any power. Issues involved in this type of relationship are normally of little consequence and short lived. The currency of this relationship is usually low level knowledge or information.

Competitive relationships are very common. They tend to revolve around resources that would be of benefit to the individual or group. For the most part, competitive relationships are on the up-and-up. There are usually rules in place to foster the attitude of fair play. As long as both sides agree to the rules and the rules are administered fairly, this relationship rarely moves past healthy competition to unhealthy conflict.

Parasitic relationships are where an advantage is sought without concern for others in the relationship. These can be dangerous relationships where selfishness, greed, coercion, manipulation, and even threats of violence are present. A parasitic relationship uses the polarization of issues to the maximum benefit. Individuals demonstrating parasitic behaviors seek advantage from controversy. Neither of the two sides that define the issue is of concern. In fact a parasitic relationship would benefit from both sides if possible; it feeds on the fallout of the battle. It can best be defined as those involved taking advantage of their position within the relationship to gain personal benefit at direct cost to the relationship. It differs from the self-actional by its involvement in an issue, something that a self-actional individual would rarely join due to the risk of personal loss and by personal or relational power.

Regardless of the type the individual in these relationships is often working through growth issues of belongingness and esteem within the ecology of the organization. They find themselves in conflict with others outside their circle of acceptance or with members of another team or chief rivals. In fact, they will likely embrace and defend the values of their group or cause in order to remain a member. Organizational conflict is the result of an inability to move beyond polarized issues that trap individual potentials within the deficiency domain.

The word conflict conjures up images of heated exchanges, anger, mistrust, opposing forces, or other forms of battle. In fact conflict is normally associated with such words as contention, controversy, dissension, friction, strife, struggle, clash, and confrontation. It is a small wonder we view it with such reluctance. A potentiator would transform the meaning for conflict held by others. They would view it as a tool for change and development for the relationship.

The first task of the potentiator is to redirect our notion of conflict by putting to rest the whole concept of managing it. Conflict management is merely a way of hiding from or over-powering the issues that created the conflict. Denial, suppression, and the use of power generally fit into the area of conflict management. Negotiation, collaboration, cooperation, interaction, and participation are terms that are used for conflict resolution. It is interesting that many of these terms are antonyms of conflict. Conflict resolution that is guided by leadership as a potentiating value is not a destructive process. It is a growth or a change process.

If we insist in trying to manage conflict two scenarios are likely, 1) the issue remains unresolved, and 2) the change process is destroyed. Since transpersonal leadership, as a relationship of potential, seeks real change that reflects our common purposes, potential is lost in the process. What is created, however, are negative potentiating attitudes of dissension, mistrust, and a combativeness that surfaces again and again. Cohesion is destroyed along with any hope of future growth.

The potentiatorembraces conflict as an indicator of the change process. Conflict is driven by change. Since change is a constant factor, so is the likelihood of conflict. Given this fact it becomes critical to develop a new appreciation for conflict as well as a healthy respect for it. Potentiating leadership can resolve this issue because it does not look to stop the cause of conflict; it looks to change the effects of conflict (Burns, 1978). The effects of conflict have traditionally been negative and divisive. These effects lead to the concentration of power and to the choosing of sides that further polarizes the issues and limits the ability of those involved to find solutions agreeable to both sides. Hence, we find mediators who first look to deny or avoid the cause of conflict and seek only to manage the effect of conflict. In the end no change is allowed unless a concentration of power clearly overwhelms the opposing view. In all likelihood the cause of conflict has not been removed and it will again begin to build in an unending cycle that drains the resources of the organization which could be put to better use.

The cause of conflict is the driver of the change process. By understanding the necessity of real change that reflects our common purposes, thepotentiatorcan check the negative effects of conflict and direct it to an outcome that does not kill the growth process. The potentiator resolves the conflict by embracing change and guiding it in directions that reflect the common purposes of all. As a result, the cause of the conflict becomes transformed by the resolution of its effects. Table 3 summarizes the inter-actional relationship.

Table 3: Summary of the Inter-actional Relationship

Rationale for Existence: Polarization of the issues.

Motto: “I’m Right, You’re Wrong or I Win, You Lose.”

Behaviors: Dependent upon form – Symbiotic, commensalism, competition, or parasitic.

Flow of Knowledge: Diluted by positional tactics.

Growth Potential: Limited unless conflict resolution occurs.

The Role of Leadership: The way of the potentiatorwithin this relationship is by way of holding space through a sustaining attention. These relationships can be complex and often require a great deal of patience and understanding. Therefore sustaining attention over a long period of time is often required. This is where a deep seated spiritual practice allows the potentiatorthe flexibility and stamina to see it through without acquiring personal harm or stress. The highest value of leadership at this level is through the resolution of the conflict or competition. A polarized organization or community can effectively pull it apart. Leadership can best serve through keeping the facts on the table, seeking opportunities to resolve polar issues, display the consequences of action or inaction in an unbiased fashion, and recognize and moderate the impact of the conflict on the people.

The Transactional Relationship

A transactional relationship goes beyond the polarization aspects of an inter-actional relationship and the one-dimensional nature of the self-actional relationship in that it begins integrating the various levels of the relationship. Individuals awakening to this level of relationship take into account the cause and effect of actions taken within the relationship. They can see the world objectively as black and white and subjectively through all the shades of gray. These relationships often carry a deeper motivation. They are often very cooperative. They appear interested in how things really are and in finding some great truth. Developmentally these individuals are likely in or entering the self-actualizing condition and are therefore working through issues surrounding respect for others and self-respect. The way of the potentiator within this relationship is through modeling the way of holding your own personal space. The potentiator here actively addresses the art of self-care and reveals ways for deepening personal spiritual practices.

The transactional relationship is representative of a two-dimensional thinking pattern. As it is often found within the threshold of the self-actualizing condition it feels the pull of the being domain and the gravity of the deficiency domain. At the same time these individuals are working through growth and development issues that could, as they see it, thrust them into the future of their potential, pull them into the eddies of a desperate neutrality, or leave them broken in the great failure of their life. The world often sees them as powerful and confident while their inner turmoil often has them choked with uncertainty. They seem to work better with other individuals who currently navigating this terrain or with those individuals within the organization that are sage-like. They are seeking the wisdom of the journey.

When confronted with the conflicts and issues surrounding the lower developmental relationships they often express an outward understanding and an inward impatience. This limits their potentiating abilities. These individuals seem to prefer working with others who are also working through this threshold experience. The results of these transactional relationships can be tremendously rewarding. It can bring understanding and appreciation to new levels of growth and development and it often inspires burst of creativity. Good marriages are probably the result of the development of a two-dimensional transactional relationship.

In organizations this level of relationship can be seen as the transition stage or choice point between decline and growth. These relationships can lead to transformation and continued growth, plateau through the doldrums of a desperate neutrality, or crash into despair of failure. In all likelihood an organization centered on the transactional relationship cycles through these possibilities with the heights and the depths of these various possibilities varying along the way. The potentiatorby way of modeling the way of self-care and holding personal space can effectively limit the slides and enhance the climbs that will ultimately lead them fully into the metamotivational domain. A summary of the transactional relationship is given in Table 4.

The Transformational Relationship

What is honored in a country will be cultivated there.– Pericles

A transformational relationship gives rise to synergy. The way of the potentiatorwithin this level of relationship is through holding space as an ecologist. As a potentiatorbelieves that a climax human community, a synergistic society, is not only possible but it is inevitable they recognize this level of relationship as a way towards that evolution. What this signals beyond all else is that someday some collection of human potentials is going to arrive at this point of a synergistic society. The potentiator says, “Why not us?”

Table 4: Summary of the Transactional Relationship

Rationale for Existence: Self-Actualization

Motto: “I can win only if you can win.”

Behaviors: Seeks the truth through understanding.

Flow of Knowledge: Concentrated upon the conditions required for growth and development.

Growth Potential: Often cycles between enhanced growth, plateau experiences, and the despair of failure.

The Role of Leadership: The way of the potentiator within this relationship is through modeling the way of holding your own personal space. The potentiator here actively addresses the art of self-care and reveals ways for deepening personal spiritual practices. The highest value of a potentiating leadership at this level of relationship is through the development of interdependent solutions to organizational challenges. Building effective potentiating relationships is the primary purpose. At this level the individual has developed a sense of self and is willing to work together to further their own and the organization’s mission or purpose.

The potentiator here doesn’t tend to despair about the current absence of such a society. They recognize that while courage might be important part of this undertaking for the search for human potential – the search for hope, what is required most is a great faith in human nature: a faith in ourselves and the seeds of potential. The initial catalyst (element of transformation) of this search for the alchemy of potential is the unshakable belief in our own potential to teach skillfully, parent lovingly, and lead effectively; with, a great faith – a great hope, in the potentials of others buttressed by whatever courage we can muster.

At this level of development the potentiator understands the awakening of potential is strong and deep. These relationships know that:

  • If we as teachers see our job predominately as the transmission of information (knowledge/skills)….
  • If we as parents see our job predominately as raising (developing/supporting) our children towards adulthood….
  • If we as leaders see our job predominately as a task (objective/goal) to be achieved…

…then we will consistently mistake a minor undertaking for our greatest mission. And, in this approach to teaching, parenting, and leading, we will leave all hope – the very way of seeking and actualizing the greatest potentials of those placed in our stewardship – to chance.

This level of relationship is informed by Maslow’s (1971) assumptions concerning metamotivation:

1. Human beings have an innate tendency to move toward higher levels of health, creativity, and self-fulfillment.

2. Neurosis may be regarded as a blockage of the tendency toward self-actualization.

  • The evolution of a synergistic society is a natural and essential process. This is a society in which all individuals may reach a high level of self-development, without restricting each others’ freedom.

The relationship at this level is dependent upon, actually relies on, faith. One individual with the ability to transform the challenges of the pair or groups can successfully move all to higher ground. The reason for this is that these individuals are capable of three-dimensional thinking. They understand the one-dimensional thinking of the self-actional, intra-actional and inter-actional relationships. And, through understanding can effectively aid in raising these relationships to higher levels. They can envision the two-dimensions of the transactional relationship and give it strength to transform to new levels of understanding. A transformational relationship brings such clarity to the issues at hand it becomes next to impossible to refute or reject the change process in play. It encapsulates leadership as a potentiating art. Table 5 summarizes the transformational relationship.

Table 5: Summary of the Transformational Relationship

Rationale for Existence: Create Constructive Change

Motto: “United We Stand, Divided We Fall.”

Behaviors: Seeks Synergy.

Flow of Knowledge: Multi-Directional.

Growth Potential: Unlimited

The Role of Leadership: The way of the potentiatorwithin this relationship is through holding space as an ecologist. The highest function of leadership at this level is to reach back down through the deficiency domain and assist in lifting others to higher levels of morality and expectation.

The Transpersonal Relationship

If we can effectively remove the specter of negative relationships, e.g., the effects of deception, manipulation, coercion, and intimidation, then we have opened the universe to the more positive aspects of the growing personality or individual. Those working within the transpersonal relationship see this positive individuation as critical for the full actualization of human potential. They capitalize on the power of individuation as a metamotivational value in order to enhance the opportunities to actualize human potentialities. The way of the potentiatorwithin this level of relationship is through holding space together – an intersubjective merging through a radiant ontology of action. A final and complete embrace of William James’ pragmatic possibility – that ‘we’ and reality make truth.

The potentiator reveals in these potentiating relationships the reality that it is not possible to undertake a eudaimonistic journey, a journey of potential, without suffering a paradigmatic shift of consciousness. But deeply, this shift is about the uncovering of a beautiful personality, a deep goodness within, and an enduring truth of self. These are the good things that await us on the path – the goodness of transpersonal leadership.

The potentiator, holding space in communion with another, seeks to solve the disillusionment generated when we begin to confuse:

  • security for creativity;
  • order for freedom;
  • classification for beauty;
  • structure for imagination;
  • conformity for elegance, and;
  • standards for potential.

The potentiating arts hold sacred the notion that all people have value and all people have gifts to share. It would follow then, that within the potentiating arts that each of us has something to teach and many opportunities to learn. ‘We’ believe that this reciprocating nature of teaching and learning can happen only if each of us feels safe in contributing to the betterment of the community. ‘We’ now realize that creating such an environment cannot be our task alone; it is the responsibility of the entire community of potential to protect and celebrate each contribution made by our fellow members however great or small. Furthermore, it is declared certain that a community of potential thrives when each of our members is welcomed and encouraged. A sense of belonging is essential to the health and wellness of our community and for our personal growth and development. Toward this endeavor ‘we’ now ask only that ‘we’ appreciate our gifts and share them freely. By following these simple yet elegant principles we will find ourselves full circle – all people have value. Valuing one another is the first step towards the journey of potential. What ‘we’ now hold as a precious value is the wisdom to re-imagine within the self a stepping stone from a stumbling block.

Table 5: Summary of the Transpersonal Relationship

Rationale for Existence: The full actualization of human potential

Motto: “To see things in a seed, that is genius.” Lao-Tzu

Behaviors:Cultivates potential

Flow of Knowledge: Disseminates a collective wisdom.

Growth Potential: Infinite and purposeful

The Role of Leadership: The way of the potentiatorwithin this level of relationship is through holding space together – an intersubjective merging through a radiant ontology of action.

The Relationship Dynamic

The relationship dynamic introduces the model of leadership as a potentiating art. The growth in human potential is directly linked to our growth of our relationship capacity. The deficiency domain and the being domain provide the necessary framework to illuminate how these functions are related through the threshold of the self-actualizing condition. Figure 6 illustrates this connectiveness.

By elevating leadership to a potentiating art organizations and communities, as well as the individuals within them, are given the hope and ability to maximize their potential. Unrealized human potential is perhaps the greatest single tragedy impacting the species today. Given that most of the difficulty surrounding our growth potential exists in the relationships that surround us, it is revealed that transpersonal leadership can be a powerful force in lifting the barriers to that growth. The interplay between potential and relationships cannot be denied. What can be transformed by a potentiating leadership is how that interplay is experienced.

McCaslin 15

The landscape of transpersonal leadership is inhabited with purpose, opportunities, and relationships. This essay sought to illuminate the relationships aspects of this landscape. While it is difficult to gain complete understanding of the landscape by an examination of its various aspects, such an examination is offered here as a starting point. To gain a complete understanding of leadership as a potentiating art will require the ideals of purpose and opportunities to be treated in kind. This was but the first step in building a holistic theory for developing human potential through the transpersonal leadership dynamic. In 1990, John Gardner stated the following: “Is it not a shame that so many men and women, of extraordinary talent, die with all their music still within them.” The promise of leadership is the promise of potential.

Not I, but the city teaches.
– Socrates

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Dr. McCaslin is an Associate Professor in the Global Ph.D. Program at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology. As a career educator, he has a rich history of teaching, educational programming, and administration. His personal and professional interests flow around the development of philosophies, principles, and practices dedicated to the full actualization of human potential. The focus of his research has centered upon organizational leadership and educational approaches that foster a more holistic approach towards the actualization of that potential. At the apex of his current research is the emergence of transpersonal leadership.

Potentiating Arts, Inc. offers individual programs as well as a intensive three day leadership academy that recognizes and honors the manifold paths towards health and wholeness. The programs and academies offered reveal how we can put these transpersonal wisdoms to work in our everyday lives as leaders, teachers, and parents – it reveals the nature and discipline of everyday transcendence. If you have questions or would like more information please contact Dr. McCaslin at or call (970) 881-3407.