Another Sage leader describes a process whereby she temporarily sets aside her analytic skills on behalf of relationship building:
I have learned to reserve judgment and not be quick in making decisions based on the first thing that comes to my mind. I now take time to gather adequate information. I don’t like people who come in and waste my time, but sometimes it is necessary to allow certain staff members to do that because it is valuable for the other person to express their concerns or views. There is value in the process, even if I know where the conversation is heading. This helps build a relationship with the person, whether I agree with that person or not.
One of the other leaders we interviewed for our Sage project offers a candid assessment of his own maturation with regard to relationship-building. He reminds us that relational skills are not always easy to either learn or apply:
It took a long time, but I am learning to listen and develop patience. I also believe I am pretty good at building relationships among diverse individuals and groups. The most important may well be that my staff used to say I was a visionary. Developing patience and listening skills, building relationships, and being a visionary seem to be my main strengths.
It is interesting to note that this Sage leader not only emphasizes vision; he also points to patience and listening skills, which often seem in short supply when observing our contemporary society in operation.
Finally, one of our Sage leaders offers a wonderful interweaving of analytic and relational skills. He would be a perfect role model for Liedrka’s generativity cycle:
My major strength is an ability to bring together groups of people, help them to find common ground, and to share motivation and vision. I do this through building personal relationships. I like ideas and am good at getting groups of people to accomplish things. I like to find people who are better than me at implementing ideas, and then empowering and helping them do the job.
Liedrka’s generativity cycle seems to require not just analytic and relational skills, but also the capacity to get something done. This is the heart of the entrepreneurial spirit and requires its own set of generative skills. The following observation reveals something about this skill set:
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I don’t consider myself a leader, but others do. They give me a job, and I do it. When people want to help with a goal, I always find a way to get them involved. And I never turn them down. The job of a leader is to have vision, which I think I have. But I also know who to ask when I don’t. I can always find someone with a different perspective that can help plan. I am not cocky and also treat everyone as an equal. When you treat people as an equal, they do things you would never think that they would do. I get people who find themselves doing amazing things, and I believe they feel they can do them because they are respected.