Critically Reflective Leadership: Defining Successful Growth




Reardon, Robert
Fite, Kathleen E.
Boone, Mike
Sullivan, Sierra

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Middle Tennessee State University


The purpose of this article is to propose a technique that can be used by emerging leaders when considering adopting the most appropriate leadership styles, behaviors or actions in a particular context. The authors review several different leadership models explored by scholars during the past six decades; not all of these models work for all leaders in all situations. In order to become effective leaders, authors propose the use of reflection-in-action to facilitate emerging leaders when faced with challenging situations. By considering a descriptive, yet brief informal checklist, the emerging leader can be supported in choosing from different models or approaches. The practical application of this information is to assist those mentoring emerging leaders and leaders themselves to develop reflective practices and insightful dispositions necessary to navigate the complex situations encountered in today’s daily interactive environments. This original work combines the literature of leadership with Schön’s work on reflective practice. While it seems an obvious application of Schön, the concept of critically reflective leadership is not prevalent in the literature.



reflective practice, leadership, critical self-reflection, Counseling, Leadership, Adult Education, and School Psychology


Reardon, R., Fite, K., Boone, M., & Sullivan, S. (2019). Critically reflective leadership: Defining successful growth. International Journal of the Whole Child, 4(1), pp. 20–32.


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