Monthly Archives: May 2011

Intriguing!! What’s going on with many Leaders?

As I observe the world perception of Leadership, I scratch my head.

Leadership appears to be perceived as, “I tell you what you ought to do”.

The response expected from people appears to be “yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir”.

I mentioned in my last post about the different levels of leadership as seen by Spiral Dynamics.

Over the last few days,my observation has been that from the political emphasis of our society, to the pharmaceutical/medical perception of society and on to the legal perception of society, leadership is either  “do it or else, for my words are law” . Or  “the system has this answer and we all agree with the system, because the system is right”.

These are Red and Blue tier is Spiral Dynamics click here to read more.

There does not see to yet be a majority perception that says “lets look at what has been suggested and see how we can learn and grow from what we are now experiencing.”

This awareness is where leadership is heading, it is the yellow tier in Spiral Dynamics. Yes, I have jumped a couple of levels in that system, however, I can see that this level is the one that is able to observe what is happening and be open to seeing all sides of the awareness. It seems a great place to aspire to as leaders.

This is the perception that does not see black or white. Rather it is able to see the nuances of what is in between, the greys.

It is no longer interested in exclusive definitions. Rather it is focused on inclusive understanding.

What are you actually attempting to communicate to me? Is the question.

The desire to be in a place where I totally get what you are telling me.

I am intrigued that people are so focused on achieving their agenda that they are not open to what the other person is really attempting to say.

Isn’t the listeners role to actually listen?

If this is so, how come we so easily move to interpreting what is being said from our own perspective? Surely we have now moved from hearing what others are saying, to hearing what we want to be heard.

To me Leadership is less in telling others how it is, and more on listening to how others perceive how it is. David Rock on the cover of his book “Quiet Leadership” says, “Help People Think Better–Don’t tell Them What to Do.”

As a Leader, how open am I, are you, in actually hearing what our staff are wanting to say to us.

In the 1990’s there was an awareness of what became called MBWA process. Which meant “Management By Walking About.”

That is, listening to what the staff are attempting to tell me about how I can improve on how I run my business.

The main issue is whether I, as the Leader, am open to these thoughts and awareness’s.

My intrigue is that so many times I find that the leader is caught up in their agenda, rather that the good of the team, the group, the organisation.

Question? What is going on? How open am I to getting to the bottom of the issue? Am I seriously involved in being open to the possibilities?

Leadership would do well to go back to the basics. Assess what its role is intended to be. Then reapply itself to future growth.

What is going on?  Either we are focused on growth and moving forward or we are caught up in maintaining the status quo, for no other reason than it is the status quo. Not a Leadership role.

The challenge to us all is to step outside our comfort zone and truly become Leaders who are seeking to make a difference, open to all possibilities and options.


There are many Leadership styles

The main challenge with the being many styles of Leadership is that so many of the styles categorically believe that there style is the only one.

I have been continuing my reading about Dr Claire Graves and “The Emergent Cyclical Levels of Existence Theory”. This has since been called Spiral Dynamics.

I have followed the Spiral Dynamics Integral leg of the development promoted by Don Beck and Ken Wilbur of Integral Theory.

The awareness that humanity has developed through an Eight-stage spiral of Development has enabled me to look at Leadership styles and observe the different styles that are out there in the marketplace.

By noting the difference in styles I am far better able to coach the business or the specific Leader of the business as i have an awareness of their specific driving Values.

I did a Values Profile some 10 years ago and found it a powerful tool to expose my Leadership style to me. Up till then I couldn’t work out easily why people did it differently.

I am going to be rather naughty and cut and paste from a document by Beck and Cowan picking out the Leadership traits of each level. Even though I know there is a lot to digest in this post, if you commit to reading it fully it will have value.

Here are the different levels of Leadership mentioned by Don Beck in the article i mentioned above.

BEIGE: Leadership Assumptions and Implications:
· People require subsistence needs to be met in order to remain alive.
· Workers need immediate compensation in the form of basic needs.

PURPLE: Leadership Assumptions and Implications:

· People are ‘married’ to their group – nepotism is a way to take care of our own.
· Workers owe their lives and souls to the parent-like organization.
· People follow their leaders willingly to honor their ancestors and the spirits.
· Anyone will sacrifice self without question if the group needs it to survive.
· Change requires the support of accepted ‘elders.’
· Change rituals should be emotional and full of symbols.
· This vMEME exists deep within each of us and tends to surface in times of
· People are nurtured through observing seasonal rituals, honoring individual’s rites of
passage (weddings, graduations, funerals) and expressing a sense of enchantment and
magic in life’s mystery.

RED: Leadership Assumptions and Implications:
· People need to be dominated by stronger force that gives rewards and keeps their
lusts in check.
· Workers will put up with a lot if their basic needs are met regularly.
· The haves are owed their status and perks just because of who they are.
· Have-nots probably deserve their status and have no right to complain.
· Payoffs get results, nobody can be trusted, and everyone has their price.
· People need to hear firm change mandates from the powerful ones in straight, tough
· Workers need to know ‘what’s in it for them’ in order to accept change.
· People are nurtured by preserving the stories of company heroes, or by celebrating the
great feats of conquest when the company, figuratively at least, ‘slayed the dragon.’

BLUE: Leadership Assumptions and Implications:
· It is mankind’s lot to work for the glory of the one True Way and keep a job.
· People work the best when they are told how to do things the right way.
· Workers are cogs in a system, fulfilling roles they are destined to.
· Higher authority rules by rightful compliance, not by might or fear.
· Doing duty and being punished when failing to do so gives meaning to life.
· Workers owe the organization loyalty as it provides their well-being.
· In times of change workers need a new system to embrace, a new cause to espouse,
and a refreshed purpose.
· Change must be orderly, consistent with principles, sanctioned by those ‘in authority’
and honouring of the past.
· Attacks on the old order trigger resistance.
· People are reinforced through appeals to traditions, by respecting the past, by
honouring length of service and loyalty.
· Various forms of patriotic appeals and charitable sacrifice should accompany
observances of national, religious, or secular holidays and commemorative events.

ORANGE: Leadership Assumptions and Implications:
· People are motivated by the achievement of material rewards.
· Competition improves productivity and fosters growth through opposition.
· Tried-and-true is best, though it can always be improved upon.
· Workers want to get ahead and have more influence over others.
· Here-and-now success is evidence of rewards to come in the future.
· People are energized by displays of symbols of progress, success, growth, and
· Individuals or groups who excel should be recognized for their achievements.
· People like a piece-of-the-action but also enjoy getting good things done.

GREEN: Leadership Assumptions and Implications:
· People want to get along and feel accepted by their peers.
· Sharing and participating lead to better results than competing.
· Emotions need attention, but hard feelings should be avoided.
· All members of an organization should have their say and be included.
· The organization is responsible for its community’s well-being.
· People are inspired by stressing the importance of human beings and the warmth that
exudes from a feeling of a caring community.
· Socially responsible activities should become tastefully visible as everyone in the
group contributes.

YELLOW: Leadership Assumptions and Implications:
· People enjoy doing things that fit who they are naturally.
· Workers need free access to information, tools, and materials.
· Organizations are only transitory states because change happens.
· Learning and understanding motivate people, not payoffs or punishments.
· People have different competencies and capacities, and most are OK.
· People are inspired through conveying a sense of personal freedom with emphasis on
getting an important job done without specifying how it must be done.
· Flex-time, alternative working hours, remote working, and job interchange are ways
to avoid over-managing.

TURQUOISE: Leadership Assumptions and Implications:
· Spiritual bonds pull people and organizations together.
· Work must be meaningful to the overall health of all life.
· The universe is a single entity of elegantly balanced, interlocking forces.
· Experiencing feelings and information together enhances both.

By looking specificallyat each style of Leadership it is possible to observe the different styles.

Where are you on the Leadership Style profile based on your Values at this point in time?

Would you like to rethink whether your style is adequate for the role you wish to fulfill?

Let me know and we can take it from there.

Next post I will look more on the awareness of styles of Leadership based on this perception.

What is the Role of a leader?

There is a Bishop in The Roman Catholic Church in Toowoomba, Australia, who put forward a few suggestions as to how the church could possibly solve some of their staffing issues by considering Women Priests and Married Clergy.

Having expressed my perceptions within the church in the late 1960’s early 1970’s, I could have suggested to him that Leadership in the mainstream churches does not have anything to do with leading people, rather it has a lot to do with maintaining the status quo.

One of the hardest things in so many organisations, as well as the church, is that those in the positions of “leadership” seem to have a belief that “protecting the Fort” is what it is all about.

The desire to define exactly what we believe, how we believe it, how everyone should behave and think, etc, becomes one of those issues that so many so called leaders believe is important.

It’s as though, by defining everything completely, we will be able to protect what we have, making it safe and secure. If we can do that then our future is completely guaranteed. There will be no nasty surprises because we have covered all the bases to ensure nothing untoward happens.

The problem with this kind of thinking is that all we may have been able to do is prevent any of the known dramas from turning up, but we haven’t be highly proactive in preventing the unknown ones, or ones we have no control over, neither have we put much time and energy into moving forward, keeping up with the changes that are happening in the world at a great rate of knots..

The Catholic Church has a belief that clergy must all be single men. It has invested a great amount of energy in propagating this belief and reinforcing it. Like all limiting beliefs it has some original shaky foundation at it’s beginning. However, those in power are unwilling to look at the original beginnings of the belief, rather they search for bits that will prove the belief and ignore the bits that disprove it.

The brain is an interesting bit of material. It has now been shown to spend a massive amount of time and energy on searching to validate what we already have chosen to believe and discount anything that contradicts the belief.

A bit like a Court of Law that will only admit the evidence that will prove the guilt of the accused. Rejecting any evidence to the contrary. A bit like some of the “leaders” in “emerging nations” where dictatorship is the norm.

Yet, I could probably name a few organisations, (I am not going to, I will leave that up to you,) where that style of leadership still exists.

Ego driven leadership has the potential of becoming the death of a business, as the person driving the agenda has the greatest possibility of being totally out of touch with the rest of the people in the organisation.

The role of a true leader is more a role of facilitating the growth of a business or organisation, ensuring that it continues to be relevant and meaningful. To be the focus of an organic process where the whole is monitored and learned from so that it can continue to evolve in the best possible way.

The role of a true leader is to actually sacrifice their own agenda so as to be in a better place to represent the mindset of the whole organisation.

It is the organisation as a whole with its multitude of leaders, each with their own awareness’s, that is tapped into by its real Leader. This collective energy is what makes an organisation thrive and excel.

Whether it is the “Management by Walking about” stuff of the 1990’s or all the later equivalents, to ignore this wealth of information is basically organisational suicide.

The role of the real Leader is to facilitate this process by creating an environment where it is fostered and enthusiastically encouraged.

The Church Leaders who are more interested in maintaining the status quo are stultifying the growth of their organisations.

The politicians who attempt to impose their individual perceptions on their constituents, who look to groups to validate their beliefs rather than being open to new possibilities are likewise killing the political process.

All true Leaders are open to a myriad of possibilities, are willing to entertain ideas that they may not be totally comfortable with, open to trying new ways, ideas and possibilities.

If only we could all open ourselves to the wealth of new possibilities that there are out there rather than limiting our selves with narrow, archaic, thoughts and beliefs.

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