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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We particularly like the label given by one of our Sage leaders about entrepreneurship: “Two words come to mind when I think of effective leadership: gentle fierceness. You have to have compassion and be a good listener. You also have to be grounded and be able to cut through like an arrow to the truth of the matter. And understand what is being asked and what is being required.”

We conclude this brief journey into entrepreneurship as a generative act by noting that many of our Sage leaders have come to recognize that entrepreneurship requires patience and a recognition that change does not happen overnight. It seems from all of our sources, that generativity of all kinds requires patience – whether we are relating to our own children, guiding a cherished project, mentoring a younger colleague, or advocating for an important cause.

Appreciation as Source of Energy and a Foundational Process

We now turn to the second and third alternative definitions of generativity by suggesting that both of these forms, when applying in an interpersonal setting where caring takes place, are fulfilled in the act of appreciation. Appreciation, in turn, is about identifying the strengths and potentials in other people and the possibilities to be found in challenges we confront. It is about “catching people when they are doing it right!” and “seeing each challenge as a door opening to a new possibility.” One of our Sage leaders hits on this point directly:

I like collaborative leaders. Some people advocate or lead from a sense of outrage. This approach may have a role, but I don’t respect it. What I do admire is a leader who looks at possibilities and holds them by opening doors and asking questions. I want to be like that, and am to some extent. I emulate people who I see as effective. It’s more “appreciative” in nature, and I didn’t even know that term until I met a colleague in our county’s health and human service agency as a great example of a leader I admire tremendously. He allows and encourages the people under him to be good at what they do—and that’s certainly an emerging part for me. He’s also so thoughtful and kind and has a broad perspective. I just love working with him. His boundaries are not so tight that you can’t move inside them.

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