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The Leadership Spectrum: I. Three Primary Perspectives and Practices

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The Golden Yellow Leader of Wisdom

This is the leader who seeks illumination from the sun. This is the Golden Yellow of dispassionate, knowledgeable leadership. What is our current reality? We must shed light on where we are right now, so that we don’t stumble forth in the darkness. The path forward will be discovered and illuminated only when we have sufficient Information. This is the leader who ensures that there are adequate resources available to defeat the enemy. It would be foolhardy to leap out of the foxhole if there is inadequate ammunition, too few soldiers or an inaccurate (or nonexistent) assessment of the resources available to the enemy. Not only will soldiers be filled, but our side will be weakened and vulnerable to the enemy’s own initiative. The key motto is: “Don’t Just Do Something, Stand There [and gain better understanding of where we are right now]!”

The Illumination of Reality

The realist dwells in a world of information. Such a world requires objectivity and diverse perspectives. It is a world that is quite challenging in our contemporary world of VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) to which I have often added both turbulence and contradiction–resulting in VUCA Plus (Bergquist, 2019). It is especially the condition of contradiction that tends to frustrate the Golden Yellow realist. What does it mean that we have two or more sets of data that portray quite different realities? And what does it mean for us to know that these different perceptions of reality are often dictated by political agendas, societal biases and a strong dose of arrogance and ignorance. The sunlight might be illuminating our reality, but there also many shadows and the sunlight has not penetrated all corners of our reality—especially those corners that are filled with anxiety and hatred. The realism of Golden Yellow is desperately needed right now—but the versions of reality that emerge are often suspect.

The Golden Yellow Relationship

This is a relationship that is founded in clear and consistent communication. Golden Yellow leaders interacts with other people in order to learn more about the real world in which they are expected to lead.  They are looking for objectively-based information—but that is hard to find. At the very least, an effective Golden Yellow leader will look for diverse perspectives on the real world—multiple stakeholders will be invited to the table, where they can share what they know or what they believe that they know without being intimidated or ignored. Those with a Golden Yellow orientation will tend to build their extended relationships around shared expertise and those people with credible sources of knowledge. The best working environment for those with a Golden Yellow orientation is one in which there are strong formal operations that are being consistently monitored. Feedback about these operations is being taken serious and corrective actions are being taken.

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