Home Concepts Concepts of Leadership The Leadership Spectrum: II. Blended Perspectives and Practices

The Leadership Spectrum: II. Blended Perspectives and Practices

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There is more here. The Rainbow leader’s interest in (even fascination with) relationships goes beyond interpersonal relationships. Rainbow leaders are often “group freaks!” They actually like to work in groups – and not just because groups can produce results. There is a genuine respect for the rich insights that can be gained from work with other people who come to the group with diverse perspectives. The Rainbow leader might even look forward to disagreements and conflict in the group: it is in the heat of battle that we come to a clearer sense of reality and purpose!” At their best, Rainbow leaders not only enjoy working in teams and groups—but are also skillful in facilitating in these groups—or at least they are involved and effective group participants. For the Rainbow leader the motto is: “Let’s Put Our Heads and Hearts Together!”

There is not just the upside to Rainbow leadership. Like the other three leadership styles, it can be overused or misused. Conflict is not always productive. Extended group meetings are not always either appreciated or productive. The Rainbow leader can get caught up in a primary concern for group/team process rather than outcomes. The group becomes “therapy for normal” rather than a setting in which work gets done. Participants might lead more about themselves and about how groups function, but they might leave having “wasted their time” when it comes to achievement of a tangible outcome.

There is also a tendency toward interpersonal neediness. The Rainbow leader is always looking to other people for self-confirmation and the fulfillment of many interpersonal needs. Will Schutz (1994) might suggest that these leaders enter relationships and groups with a full agenda of interpersonal needs to be met: inclusion, control and openness. Finally, it is important to recognize that someone with a Rainbow orientation might be agile in moving between different styles of leadership—that is all well and good. However, this could mean that this person seems to be unpredictable: “Who is Going to Show Up Today!” It is important that the agility is coupled with the capacity to clearly articulate the style being used at any one moment and the reason for use of this strategy.

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