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The Leadership Spectrum: I. Three Primary Perspectives and Practices

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This is the first of two essays that present a model of leadership styles that addresses the complex, unpredictable and turbulent challenges faced by contemporary organizations around the world. It is proposed that no one leadership style is best and that there are strengths associated with three primary styles, as well as strengths associated with various blends of these three styles. I will be using the metaphor of color in describing (and hopefully making memorable) each of these primary and blended styles. That is why I have titled this set of two essays “The Leadership Spectrum.”

In setting the stage for a description of each leadership style, I offer a basic model regarding the ways in which we approach the many challenges of 20st Century organizational life. This model concerns the ways in which we identify our current reality, our desired reality, and the ways in which to move from the current to desired state.

The Three Domains: Information, Intentions, and Ideas

In Europe of the Middle-Ages there were many small fiefdoms, rather several small and large countries (as there are today). Each of these fiefdoms had its own set of rules, its own history of success and struggle, and its own rulers. Thus, there were a set of domains in Europe that required one to recognize distinctive differences in perspective and practice when crossing the boundary into a new fiefdom. I would suggest that the same occurs when we move from one set of perspectives and practices to another domain when tackling a challenging issue in one’s personal life or in one’s organization. There are three domains on which I wish to focus. These are the domains of information (where am I or where are we right now), intentions (where do I want to be or where do we want to be) and ideas (how do I or we get from where we are to where we want to be).

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