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The Leadership Spectrum: I. Three Primary Perspectives and Practices

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Michael Polanyi (1969), a noted Nobel-prize winning biologist and philosopher, wrote about this irony when distinguishing between that TO WHICH we attend and the that FROM WHICH we attend. When someone points to some events, we tend to look to where they are pointing (“To Which”) rather than looking at the act of pointing itself (“From Which”). Why have they selected this event for their attention? What is the reason they have asked us to attend to this event? Polanyi would suggest that the notion of “objectivity” is always suspect, given that the source of this objectivity is always subjective. Our rationality is always couched in an irrationality to which we can never directly (or objectively) attend, given that we would once again have to find a place from which to mount our attention. For the Golden Yellow, there is always this struggle about somehow being rational and objective in a world that doesn’t take easily to such a stance.

A Golden Yellow Portrait

As we compile a portrait of the Golden Yellow orientation and particularly the Golden Yellow style of leadership, we find that the primary source of Joy is found in gaining an objective sense of what is happening out there in the world. The primary source of energy comes from systematically arriving at an “accurate” conception of reality [MBTI: thinking] When seeking to focus their attention on something that is important, those with a Golden Yellow orientation are like to devote time (and energy) to remaining clear, consistent and rational in addressing real life issues-and they best do this by working with some independence from other people [MBTI: introversion] The strength inherent in the Golden Yellow style of leadership is insistence on getting it right. The Golden Yellow leader, in turn, is challenged when being pushed to action without adequate information (this push often brought about by a Ruby Red leader). As already noted, they are also challenged when confronted with alternative interpretations of reality (these interpretations often being offered by an Azure Blue leader). So, what is the ultimate threat for the Golden Yellow leader: it is not being perfect right.

Golden Yellow: Viewing Other Preferences

Those with a Golden Yellow orientation often consider themselves to be the best judge of character and personal strengths—since they can stand back and objectively observe the behavior of other people and the consequences of this behavior. While they might wait from someone to ask for their observations and judgements, the Golden Yellows are quick to share what they “know.” First, those with a Ruby Red orientation can tend to be quite arrogant—especially if they are in a leadership role or are in a position to exert some authority (formal or informal). To use the old phrase, the Ruby Reds act like “bulls in a China shop.” They often leave behind debris after they have taken action, and do more wounding than healing. The Ruby Reds also are described by those with a Golden Yellow orientation as being ignorant: They move forward without knowing if sufficient resources are available. A new computer system is installed without any training being required—and it might not even be the case that this system is really needed: Ruby Reds seem to be attracted to shiny new toys!

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