Home Concepts Adult Development XIV. The Enactment of Generativity Two: Legacy and Leadership

XIV. The Enactment of Generativity Two: Legacy and Leadership

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Yet another Sage leader focuses on collaborative problem-solving skills when reflecting on the nature of effective leadership. She noted that problem-solving is actually a multi-skilled endeavor:

Being a good problem-solver is the one thing I have respected most in leaders I have worked with. Someone who says, “I’ll handle that. I’ll figure a way to solve that problem.” I try to do that, and get volunteers and others on my committee to do that. It requires being very objective about what needs to get done. It involves a whole bunch of qualities—skills, ability to deal with people, intellectual capability.

We conclude this brief venture into the analytic skills needed to be an effective leader (and effective agent of Generativity Two care) by turning to a lengthier analysis made by one of our Sage leaders regarding what doesn’t work:

There are two mistakes that leaders make. One is over-control. I have lots of examples where people may not understand how to do a job, and a supervisor explains it to them and then takes over the task while the volunteers stand around with their hands in their pockets. People aren’t going to stand around very long because they didn’t volunteer for that. Yelling and criticizing is also what I mean by over-control. Some leaders also make the mistake of looking too closely over someone’s shoulder. Instead, let them make mistakes, let them try, and then show them what’s wrong and they won’t make the mistake again. The second mistake I see is people making assumptions and generalizations that lead to problems, like assuming someone knows what they’re supposed to be doing and they’re told “Go over there and do that.” And the next thing you know they are making errors that could have been avoided. In some ways these two issues, over-control and assumptions and generalizations, are two sides of the same coin.

We suggest that “sides of the same coin” refers explicitly to the coin of analytic reasoning and, as our other Sage leaders have noted, to several other sides of the same coin– the complex and interrelated coins of vision, effective questioning, and collaborative problem-solving.

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