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The Leadership Spectrum: I. Three Primary Perspectives and Practices

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The first of the characters that Dorothy encounter on her journey (down the Yellow Brick Road) is a scarecrow, who is not very good at scaring anything. The scarecrow wants a brain: “If only I could have a brain instead of just this straw.” While assisting Dorothy, the scarecrow exhibited a great deal of brain power. He emulated the Golden Yellow style of leadership. At the end of the Wizard of Oz, the scarecrow is awarded a diploma—which is a document that acknowledges his wisdom. As the fraudulent Wizard notes, it often only takes a diploma to make someone seem smart. [It is worth noting that the original books were not just intended for consumption by children. Like Gulliver’s Travels and many other “children’s books”, the Wizard of Oz books offered critical comments regarding leadership in American during this turbulent time—the Depression years of the 1930s.]

The second character, like the scarecrow, was discovered nearby the Yellow Brick Road. He was the Tin Man, who had rusted in place during a rainstorm. With his ax in hand (to chop down trees), the Tin Man was unable to move. Dorothy and the Scarecrow were able to loosen him up with a bit of oil in each of the Tin Man’s limbs. With the renewed capacity to not just move, but also talk, the Tin Man conveyed his desire to have a heart. There is only a hollow sound when you bang on his tin chest. As in the case of the scarecrow, we discover that the Tin Man is full of heart. He is a gentle, caring soul who only comes to recognize this essential characteristic in himself when he is provided a symbol of philanthropy (a heart) that is acknowledging his generosity. In many ways, the Tin Man exemplifies Azure Blue perspective and practices.

This brings us to the third character, who is the loveable Cowardly Lion. Once again, we find ourselves traveling down the Yellow Brick Road (having faced the threats of the Wicked Witch and her minions). In the midst of a terrifying forest, Dorothy, the Scarecrow and the Tin Man (along with Dorothy’s dog, Toto), a ferocious lion appears. He roars and threatens everyone—except Toto. It is only when Toto challenges the lion that we discover the ferocity is only bluster. The lion is actually a big fraidy-cat and soon acknowledges that he is in need of a whole lot of courage. Once again, we witness many courageous acts (along with a whole lot of fear) on the part of our Lion—especially when Dorothy is being threatened. Like many Ruby Red leaders, the bluster is mixed with some real caring and real courage. This caring and courage is acknowledged by the Wizard, who awards the Lion a medal of bravery.

For Dorothy, there is the desire to return to her home in Kansas. It is the Good Witch (not the Wizard) that points out to Dorothy that she too has only to look inward to find home and the people she has too often taken for granted. It is interesting to note that our three characters assume posts of leadership in Oz (as the Wizard flies off in his balloon). Hopefully, they will all read the present essay on the three primary styles of leadership and will be guided in their actions by what I have written. . . .

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