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

The Leadership Spectrum: I. Three Primary Perspectives and Practices

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Reiterating the Important Messages

I would suggest that the Wizard of Oz and Star Trek not only offer charming examples of the three primary leadership perspectives and practices. Both of these modern-day myths reiterated two important messages. First, we need to appreciate the strengths that we already have as those with a Ruby Red, Azure Blue or Golden Yellow perspective, who engage in practices aligned with one of these perspectives. Each style of leadership is to be appreciated and engaged in the organizations where we serve as members and leaders. We should not have to wait until the Wizard or Good Witch appreciates (acknowledges and honors) our strengths—and the strengths of people with whom we work.

The second important message to reiterate is revealed in the Star Trek narratives. Our strengths are wonderful when used in an appropriate manner, at the right time, and usually in conjunction with the strengths found among other members of our organization. We tend to get in trouble not from engagement of your weaknesses, but rather from the excessive or inappropriate uses of these strengths. This second message is particularly important to keep in mind when we are anxious and threatened (there are many alien forces operating on our own planet earth). The temptation for us to regress to an extreme (and often infantile) version of our strength is great when we are afraid. The courage of our Lion, the heart of our Tin Man, and the wisdom of our Scarecrow should be engaged so that we become collaborative and appreciative of those who can assist us in our own journey down the Yellow Brick Road.

Implications for Coaching

While we might not have a scarecrow, Tin Man, Lion—or even a good doctor or Vulcan—to assist us in our journey, we can look to assistance from a professional coach. I wish to finish this first essay by suggesting ways in which a coach can assist us (or at least ways in which we can self-coach). This will mean that we need to return briefly to the concepts that introduced this essay: the domains of information, intentions and idea. And I will be talking initially to those who do the coaching.

The Nature of Effective Coaching

First, it is important when coaching someone to acknowledge that those leaders who tend to dwell more on reflection than action are oriented either toward “realism” or “idealism.” Whereas the “activist” tends to dwell in the domain of actionable ideas, the “realist” prefers the domain of information and the “idealist” the domain of intentions. The activists perceive the overly analytical realist as an immobile, often obsessive person.  Similarly, activist views the idealist as hopelessly romantic—a person who would rather build castles in the air then build a durable bungalow on earth The realist, while very “well-informed”, may never lift up his or her head long enough or far enough to see what is actually happening in the world beyond the data.

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