Home Concepts Concepts of Leadership The Leadership Spectrum: I. Three Primary Perspectives and Practices

The Leadership Spectrum: I. Three Primary Perspectives and Practices

49 min read


Star Trek

We can move forward by four decades (and many centuries) to the world of the Starship Enterprise, that is led by Captain James Kirk and his loyal and competent crew. In the character of James Kirk (played by William Shatner) we find the exemplification of Ruby Red leadership. In keeping with the general theme of the television and movie series, Captain Kirk boldly going where no one else has gone! In doing so, he gets into trouble—as do many extreme Ruby Red leaders. He exemplifies action without thought (Golden Yellow) or direction (Azure Blue).

This brings us to the physician on the Starship Enterprise. It is Leonard McCoy (“Bones”) (played by DeForest Kelley). While Bones is a skillful and caring doctor, he is also quite emotional and gets into trouble or at least doesn’t help matters when he focuses on doing the healing rather than trying to prevent the injury. Like many of the extreme Azure Blues, Bones is not inclined to be thoughtful and reasonable. In his frequent conflicts with the third character, Mr. Spock (who personifies the Golden Yellow), Dr. McCoy is often heard declaring: “I’m sick and tired of your logic!”

This leaves us with the third character, Spock (played by Leonard Nimoy), who is half human and half Vulcan. He is a being that desperately wants to remain rational under all conditions (struggling at times with the human half of him). Spoke gets into trouble or is not always helpful precisely because he gets caught up in the data without considering the human cost.  One of the wonderful statements made by Spoke exemplifies his Golden Yellow perspective: “may I say that I have not thoroughly enjoyed serving with humans? I find their illogic and foolish emotions a constant irritant”

It seems that all three perspectives and practices are required in operating the Starship Enterprise—just as they are needed in operating all contemporary organizations that are required in a world of VUCA Plus.

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