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The Leadership Spectrum: II. Blended Perspectives and Practices

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Royal Purple: Enacting Social Justice

Royal Purple is a blending of Azure Blue and Ruby Red. For those with a Royal Purple orientation the world is one in which a pathway must be forged toward social justice. Royal Purple is about advocacy. It blends the Azure Blue concern about human beings and about envisioning a compelling future with the Ruby Red concern for moving to action. When you are in trouble, there is no one better to have on your side than a Royal Purple leader.

This orientation is identified as Royal because it is all about power and authority: who has the power and who has the authority? Are they the right people to represent the interests of all people? If not, then we need to act! Golden Yellow is opposite to Royal Purple and is often detested by those with a Royal Purple orientation: this is no time to sit on the sidelines and keep score. This is a time to be engaged!

The feeling function of the MBTI is directly aligned with the Royal Purple orientation. This function is not just about emotions. It is about a deep concern for the values that underlie our actions. Similarly, the Royal Purple orientation is aligned with the Enneagram 4—which is concerned with depth of feeling and experience. Royal Purple leaders truly care about those who are looking to them for leadership and do not stop caring or taking action until some level of social justice is achieved for all people. It is an unending task for many with the Royal Purple orientation and can easily lead to fatigue, burnout and ultimate disillusionment.

The primary source of joy for the Royal Purple leader is ensuring that justice is done, and appropriate service are being delivered to those who are often under-served. A major source of energy is the questioning by Royal Purple of those in authority; do the ends justify the means? Does “might always lead to right” or (as King Arthur declared in Camelot, does “right create might” The Royal Purple focus of attention is on defending the weak and disadvantaged by ensuring consistency in policies, procedures and actions.

This can occur in one’s society or even in one’s organization—with attention being given to such issues as sexual harassment and gender or racial discrimination. David Kolb describes the process of assimilation whereby a set of rules and procedures are firmly established to ensure consistency in organizational behavior—for this Royal Purple this assimilation focuses on the creation and implementation of fair and consistent policies and procedures leading to equity and justice.

The strength of Royal Purple leadership often resides in this leader’s provision of great drama. There are demonstrations, elegant gestures that are heroic in nature and that express the deep feelings underlying the actions that are taken [enneagram 4] The accompanying challenge takes place when the Royal Purple leader is being asked to be less “deep” and to live more often in the real, expedient world (this concern is often voiced by a Golden Yellow).

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