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The Leadership Spectrum: II. Blended Perspectives and Practices

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The Pot of Gold

As we have just noted, effective Rainbow leadership is something more than just short-term, results-oriented pragmatist. The Rainbow leader dreams of the mythic pot of gold to be found at the end of the rainbow. This pot of gold, however, is elusive (especially when it requires Integration and Collaboration. Perhaps that is why it exists in myth but not often in reality. The pot of gold is elusive because collaboration is often hard to achieve—easily becoming collusion (Bergquist, 2013)—and because Integration often falls apart under conditions of anxiety and uncertainty (we tend to regress to a deeply-held preference for one of the three primary styles).

An Appreciative and Constructive Dialogue

How do we move to sustained collaboration? It begins with acknowledgement and appreciation for all three of the primary styles of leadership and interpersonal preferences associated with these styles. We need the Ruby Red, to ensure that we don’t get stuck in analysis paralysis (Golden Yellow) or become too dreamy (Azure Blue). We need Azure Blue so that we might be clear about the direction in which we are headed. We don’t want to leap out of the foxhole without knowing the cause for which we are willing to give our life (or at least devote our time and energy) (Ruby Red).

Furthermore, we need to know what kind of information we are collecting and for what purpose—valid information is of no use if it is not goal-specific. The Golden Yellow is also important and must be engaged (even if those with this orientation are reticent to get engaged in these collective endeavors). Without Golden Yellow, a group can be charging out of the foxhole without adequate ammunition (Ruby Red) or can remain in the foxhole or never get to the foxhole while espousing a dream of peace that is unrealistic and unattainable (Azure Blue).

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