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Dynamic Leadership: An Expansion of Self Determination Theory

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The map indicates that, in Quadrant I, the Leader’s raters ranked her high in this quadrant in that they feel she actively seeks out others’ opinions and leads in an inclusive manner. However, in Quadrant II, her colleagues also rated her high in that she is exhibiting too much of this Inclusive style—so much so that it’s now becoming a detriment to her success. This is also reflected in the comments that the team is becoming frustrated with the slow progress and lack of decisions. Quadrant III illustrates what the team members are requesting: a leader who will make some tough decisions. Not surprisingly, the leader was rated low in this area. There is an extremely low rating for Quadrant IV, which indicates that the Leader is not overusing Decisiveness. This result was consistent with the Leader’s self-assessment. She avoids at all costs any actions that may be perceived as shutting down conversations and disregarding others’ opinions. The Leader avoids this quadrant to such an extent that she ultimately over-uses being Inclusive.

Currently, the Leader is stuck in an “either/or” mindset in Quadrants I and IV. She is actively working to preserve her true default style of being an inclusive leader and is strongly resisting the feedback to becoming a dictator (her words) in Quadrant IV.

The Coach then uses this assessment to hone in on the two quadrants that may not be as visible to the Leader. The Coach examines Quadrant II with the Leader. This reveals that she is overusing her Inclusive style, which is now viewed as a downside or detriment to the team’s success. She understands how she could be overusing her style, but still justifies that this style is the right approach and her intentions are good. She wants to include everyone in the decision-making process. Then the Coach examines Quadrant III which is the Leader’s blind spot.

Coach: Let’s suspend reality for a minute… let’s say you were this type of leader who made decisions on behalf of the team. Without overdoing this style (Quadrant IV), what would some of those benefits be for the team?

Leader: (Long pause) I’m not sure. I guess we would see more progress, more results. We would have debates and then move on. We wouldn’t get stuck in analysis paralysis.

Coach: Now, what would happen if we sprinkled some of those benefits on to your style of being Inclusive? How can you be BOTH Inclusive and Decisive? Are you willing to explore that with me?

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