Date of Award

Winter 12-17-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Keith Larick

Second Advisor

Cindy Petersen

Third Advisor

Karen J. Bolton


Purpose. The purpose of this explanatory mixed methods study was to identify and describe what exemplary field grade commanders in the California Army National Guard (CA ARNG) do to maintain their physical, emotional, intellectual, social, vocational, and spiritual health.

Methodology. This study used a mixed methods approach relying on the collection of data to provide for a more flexible platform to triangulate multiple data sources and increase the validity of the study’s findings. The study used a quantitative survey to examine how exemplary field grade commanders in the CA ARNG rated their use of grounded leadership strategies combined with follow-on interviews and collected artifacts to discover in-depth and personal details regarding the participants’ wellness-related practices.

Findings. Analysis of the data revealed that CA ARNG exemplary field grade commanders maintain their grounded leadership by (a) consistently engaging in physical activity and healthy eating habits, (b) regularly practicing and promoting self-awareness strategies, (c) engaging in continual learning practices, (d) maintaining and developing their social health through authenticity and mutually rewarding relationships, (e) routinely practicing personal mastery principles and engaging in meaningful work, and (f) deeming generosity as essential to their spiritual health.

Conclusions. Five conclusions were drawn from the data and findings. CA ARNG exemplary field grade commanders who (a) consistently engage in lifestyle choices that optimize energy management are more effective at mitigating stress, (b) regularly practice emotional self-awareness cultivate environments that are more resilient to stress, (c) practice personal mastery principles improve their six dimensions of health, (d) practice authenticity to cultivate relationships enhance their leadership capability, and (e) leaders with defined values grounded to their sense of purpose enhance leadership effectiveness in times of uncertainty.

Recommendations for Action. Further research is recommended to replicate this study with the different populations within the CA ARNG and populations from different states among the Army National Guard (ARNG) to determine similarities, differences, and trends in grounded leadership strategies among the various ARNG populations, states, and geographical locations.