In this paper I have brought together ideas from many fields from which I have developed my own technique, theory and philosophy of dialogue. I have added to Starhawk’s (1990) model of group leadership the concept of circles of engagement: malice & indifference, willingness and alignment. To Keirsey’s (1989) model of temperaments, I added a fifth temperament, the Alchemist. For Isaacs’ (1999a & 1999b) models, I surfaced the fifth practice of cultivation and added a fifth principle of transformation, of change. I brought together the ideas in a dialogue of thought from which they have been transformed and from which my own new theory and model has emerged. This new theory has already been useful to me as a practitioner of dialogue and as a designer of soft-system engagements and I look forward to further opportunity for praxis.
The fifth practice is cultivation, and the principle that informs this practice is the principle of change, of transformation. On an intra-personal level, this is personal mastery. On an inter-personal level, this is coaching and transformative leadership. On a group level, this is the cultivation of all five practices of dialogic leadership to elicit the emergence of all five principles. It is the practice of dialogue to embody these principles by working to help others work toward embodying these principles and practices in themselves.
In the beginning of this project I was guided by an overall question of how to cross thresholds of difference to meet with inimical others. I believe that meeting the inimical other is made possible through the practice of dialogue. This practice is for the purpose of human growth on a collective level, and to transform the self, others and the world. This dialogic practice of personal mastery, transformative leadership and dedication to the transformation of the world is a way to create peace in the world, our relationships and in our selves.
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