Home Concepts Concepts of Leadership Community Engagement XV. The Enactment of Generativity Two: Mentoring Individuals and Organizations

XV. The Enactment of Generativity Two: Mentoring Individuals and Organizations

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One of our Sage leaders frames the role of mediator in a broad, historical context:

I always felt this country was founded on people becoming involved in their community. Back then we didn’t have professional politicians because business and other leaders would come together to run their community, then leave and someone else would come and do the job. Well, we’ve screwed that up. I’ve always felt an obligation to pay back the community, because the people before me established an excellent school system and form of government. I’ve always felt the need to be involved, and I’ve always enjoyed it, working with right-thinking people who appreciate the community.

Ultimately, it seems that effective mediation involves many of the analytic and relational skills we identified earlier with regard to alternative definitions of generativity. Mediation (and perhaps all forms of generativity) also seems to require a strong dose of patience:

I have a lot more patience for stupidity than I used to have. In many cases, it’s naiveté. Early on, that would irritate me no end. I’d have a hard time being patient with people who didn’t get it, or didn’t want to get it. I came to accept that sometimes it’s just like that.


This third of the five M’s often complements mentoring by providing an oversight function that is observant rather than judgmental. This is a tricky balance for any Generativity Two leader who wishes to be supportive, but also provide insights and expertise regarding the organization where she is serving as mentor. This monitoring leader is particularly concerned about uninformed and unreflective decision-making:

The biggest problem with some leaders? In brief terms: Ready, Fire, Aim. There’s a lot wrapped up in that old saw, including anger, impulsiveness, and over-confidence. It is so easy when you have been in charge to see some idiotic thing happen that you don’t know the background of but let fire any way. And that is more often than not the wrong thing to do.

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