“My work with experienced leaders and my own leadership journey have shown me that one-size-fits-all, externally oriented approaches to leader development deliver diminishing returns by the time you are an experienced leader. Leaders who are approaching or already in executive leadership, and those phasing out and becoming elders, need an entirely different approach, one that shows them how to leverage the wisdom they have gathered through experience. My research and work with such leaders led me to develop Wiser (Wilder) Leadership, which is customized to each leader and begins inside, with the experience you already have. We explore what has nourished your leadership to date and how that may need to change now. Your leadership is like a tree—its roots may never be seen, but they are nonetheless vital to whether you can sustainably maintain a lush, healthy leadership canopy that represents your expanding and positive visible impact. The leaders I work with begin to have the stronger impact they want immediately, and this only expands over time. They also report a lot more fun leading (yes, this is possible!), and almost all of them also get promoted faster. The Wiser Wilder Leadership approach builds on experience to cultivate wisdom, delivering not only more effectiveness and impact, but much more personal and professional meaning, purpose, and joy.”
Teresa Rothausen, Ph.D.
Why is a different approach needed for experienced leaders?
Thought leaders from Dante Aligheiri in 1321 to Arthur Brooks in 2022 have written about the radically different approaches needed between the first and second half of life if we are to remain happy and fulfilled. Yet these differences are not well integrated into leadership development–until now! Wiser Wilder Leadership is based on practices especially developed for leaders in the second half of life, based on cutting edge science and millennials-old wisdom traditions, as well as my own research and experience walking alongside developing executives and elders.
“In the middle of the journey of…life I came to myself within a dark wood where the straight way was lost…”
-Dante Aligheiri, from The Divine Comedy (1321)
It can become dark because the old ways, which worked great until now, no longer work for you; and this is as it should be! The Wiser Wilder approach is your flashlight that will help you move through this dark wood, and when you come back into the light, it will be as a more powerful, fulfilled leader.
“…what got you to this point won’t work to get you into the future…you need to build some new strengths and skills.”
-Arthur C. Brooks, from Strength to Strength (2022)
Though many authors point this out, few provide maps to move from what Brooks calls “The First Curve” to “The Second Curve” of leadership development. That is exactly what the Wiser Wilder Leadership approach does. Four primary methods can be mixed and matched to customize the approach to clients’ needs.
COACHING AND DISCERNMENT
Senior Leader & Client Testimonials
Past and current clients and emerging executives and elders.
“I hired Teresa last year as combination leadership coach and spiritual guide, after taking on a new role in an explosively growing organization. I met Teresa several years ago when she was teaching a course on executive leadership as part of a larger program I was in, where I connected with her right away. I appreciated how she could explain very complex, important topics in a way I could immediately understand and use in my leadership at work. As my executive leadership coach and spiritual director, she is guiding me on a journey toward more freedom and joy in my leadership. As just one example, I have learned how being the only daughter of an immigrant family and a woman of color in corporate America led to me putting enormous pressure on myself. Teresa is helping me put down the burdens while retaining the gifts of this heritage. She has also helped me integrate my spiritual life into my leadership life. I am so grateful that I met Teresa and that I have her as a companion on the journey to becoming a stronger leader with a deeper spiritual foundation. She makes me feel seen and truly supported in reaching my full potential and enjoying it!” See all full Testimonials.
“Our organization hired Wiser Leadership to work with executive leaders as part of our work to support, accelerate, and empower high priority school district leaders. Teresa, in a short time, was able to build relational trust and help our leaders build the capacity to solve problems of practice. She has fostered a professional learning community among these leaders, which has dramatically shaped how they show up as leaders, and utilizes the collective expertise of the group to maximize the impact of their work in their districts. She is not afraid to name the dynamics of social and racial injustice infused into the institutions in our society to reshape how our leaders think about their work. In fact, one reason we hired Wiser Wilder Leadership is that when I met Teresa at Harvard in 2018, I found her approach to working with leaders to help them become more astute in understanding the dynamics of the intersectionality of race, gender, and socioeconomics to be truly revolutionary. She is passionate about her work with these leaders. Her work reflects a moral imperative to uplift, elevate, and empower leaders to lead and sustain large-scale improvement. Her work has positively impacted the leaders who set the tone that profoundly impacts the development of the potential of our country’s greatest and most important resource, our children.” See all full Testimonials.
“It would be hard to overstate the impact of Teresa and her leadership on my life. I worked for Teresa in the past, and in that role had the opportunity to benefit from her Wiser Leadership approach before it even had that name. Over two decades, I have seen her leadership from many angles, including her own executive leadership of the programs she hired me into. She inspired me in so many ways, not only to expand how I saw my leadership impact, but also to think more expansively as I transitioned out of my primary career work and into the work I do now, bringing my hard-earned wisdom to those organizations that I most believe in, am passionate about, and enjoy. This, in turn, has contributed to me having a productive and meaningful transition from employment to what Teresa calls “ReWirement.” I recommend working with Teresa without reservation if you want to have a positive impact on the world through your leadership….” See all full Testimonials.
“I went through an executive leadership program Teresa led between 2020 and 2022. There were many great instructors in that program, but Teresa’s Wiser Leadership approach was the heart and soul, without which the program would not have been effective. There are a lot of other leadership programs out there, but few with the heart of Teresa’s approach, and that’s what I was looking for. While Teresa’s stuff can seem a bit “woo woo” at first, it is also very clear that everything she asked us to do had solid foundations in science and research as well as ancient wisdom. She has weeded out the trendy and retained the proven. On top of that, Teresa is passionate about improving executive leadership in our world and facilitating wiser elders in our organizations and institutions. She helped me become comfortable to be courageously authentic and act with integrity in uncomfortable situations. She cares about me as a person and got to know me. She encouraged me to question her and to push back if I needed to. And, she did the same with my peers in the program. She truly wants us to be fulfilled and happy leaders. I have referred a lot of colleagues (and my husband!) to the program since I completed it, and for these two reasons—her research-backed methods and her care for us—I will keep referring them while Teresa is involved.” See all full Testimonials.
“I met Teresa in 2014 through a leadership organization and, as we worked together on the board of directors, it became very clear to me that what she brought to the organization was at a higher level, with deeper impacts, than any of the leadership training or education I’d had in my long career in industry and my work with non-profit organizations. Teresa has a rare vision for how leadership needs to shift to contribute to healing the rifts in our society. Personally, I have learned a great deal from her about my blind spots as a white leader. With my growth in this area, Teresa and I partnered to co-create The Whiteness Workshop, which we have delivered three times to rave reviews. I have made sure to keep working with her on new projects, and would hire her without reservation for any leadership program I’m involved with. I have watched Teresa’s approach coalesce into WISER Leadership, guiding leaders to be more Whole, Inclusive, Soulful, Environmentally Engaged, and Relational. The way her approach inspires leaders to bring their whole selves into leadership for the common good with joy has helped me personally to create a more vibrant and engaged “second act” of social activism in my retirement…. See all full Testimonials.
“Having the opportunity to learn the WISER leadership framework from Teresa was a tremendous gift. It helped me to identify my voice and gave me the freedom to show up in my life – both at work and at home – in a wholehearted, authentic way. It has given me the courage to be relational and look for opportunities to truly see people and build connections, something I had previously thought was not aligned with leadership. The impact on the people around me has been rewarding. When people feel seen, they are empowered to be the best versions of themselves, and to me there is no better way to measure success in leadership.” See all full Testimonials.
Individual, Small Group, Team, & Organization-Wide Options
At Wiser Wilder Leadership, LLC, we coach leaders and provide leadership meaning discernment one-on-one. We also create and facilitate small groups of leaders who support and challenge each other through a cohort that meets regularly to discuss customized content that they most need. Finally, we have developed many different workshops and courses that stand alone or are part of larger programs for teams and organizations.