We turn now to the second element identified by Liedrka about the generativity cycle, which has to do with the skills needed to build a collaborative relationship. With regard to the role of Generativity Two, this means building relationships that are truly respectful and caring. Let’s first consider the reflection offered by a Sage leader about her own leadership strengths:
In thinking about my principal leadership strengths, I believe I have a good balance among personal style, ability to build relationships, and political capability. And all of this is rooted in action. Of these, building personal relationships is most important to me and probably best defines my leadership style. I also have the ability to be a quick study of people and decide whether to connect with them or not. I can immediately determine whether I’d like to get to know the person, or if the person possesses something important that I’d like to learn. I guess this came from all of the hiring I did in one of my early Bay Area jobs. I got to be very good at assessing people’s strengths and weaknesses and at making “yes” or “no” decisions on whether to hire.
For this Generativity Two leader, it is a matter of first assessing the other person, then building a relationship that is compatible with this assessment. We also see in this Sage leader’s statement a translation of skills learned while in a corporate setting to the civic leadership (Generativity Four) that she provides in her community.
One of our Emerging Sage leaders identifies his move to a more collaborative leadership style as a product of the corporate culture in which he worked (management in The Gap, a large clothing store corporation). His culture was a facilitator of collaboration rather than being a barrier:
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As I grew, I figured out how to delegate properly. This has taken a long time, but I think I get it now. The Gap really helped me in this way. My leadership style has changed from doing it myself to relying on a team of qualified people to do the same level or even better quality work than I would do myself. Having an awareness of this is probably the biggest change in my leadership style.