Transformations of Leadership

Harthill Consulting, Hewelsfield, England.
Harvard business review (Impact Factor: 1.27). 05/2005; 83(4):66-76, 133.
Source: PubMed


Most developmental psychologists agree that what differentiates one leader from another is not so much philosophy of leadership, personality, or style of management. Rather, it's internal "action logic"--how a leader interprets the surroundings and reacts when his or her power or safety is challenged. Relatively few leaders, however, try to understand their action logic, and fewer still have explored the possibility of changing it. They should, because leaders who undertake this voyage of personal understanding and development can transform not only their own capabilities but also those of their companies. The authors draw on 25 years of consulting experience and collaboration with psychologist Susanne Cook-Greuter to present a typology of leadership based on the way managers personally make sense of the world around them. Rooke and Torbert classify leaders into seven distinct actionlogic categories: Opportunists, Diplomats, Experts, Achievers, Individualists, Strategists, and Alchemists-the first three associated with below-average performance, the latter four with medium to high performance. These leadership styles are not fixed, the authors say, and executives who are willing to work at developing themselves and becoming more self-aware can almost certainly move toward one of the more effective action logics. A Diplomat, for instance, can succeed through hard work and self-reflection at transforming himself into a Strategist. Few people may become Alchemists, but many will have the desire and potential to become Individualists and Strategists. Corporations that help their executives and leadership teams to examine their action logics can reap rich rewards.

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Article: Transformations of Leadership

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    • "As individuals engage in vertical development opportunities, they possess an increasing capacity to discern, interpret, and make sense of the world, the complexity encountered , and an understanding of their own actions in relationship to more complex environments (Petrie, 2011). Rooke and Torbert (2005) add that those who vertically develop become aware of " how they interpret their surroundings and react when their power or safety is challenged " (p. 1), made possible due to an increase in their own mental complexity; simply put, " their minds grow bigger " (Petrie, 2011, p. 12). "
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    ABSTRACT: For 30 years, management educators have supported competency-based management education (CBME). When applying CBME, educators stimulate students’ lateral development, known as the acquisition of subject-specific knowledge and competencies that deepen their current perceptions and task performance. We contend CBME is necessary but not sufficient to develop future leaders in an increasingly complex world. Concurrently, educators must design curricula to stimulate students’ vertical development, described as “how we learn to see the world through new eyes, how we change our interpretations of experience and how we transform our views of reality.” This study examines the impact of an 8-month internship course on students’ lateral and vertical development. The findings support our contention that experiential learning (EL) curricula developed with both lateral and vertical development components are powerful aids in preparing students to address complex work-related challenges.
    03/2015; 38(3). DOI:10.1177/1053825915571749
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    • "These are the capacities that have been found to evolve at postconventional levels of development (Cook-Greuter, 1999; Hewlett, 2004; Kegan, 1994; Miller & Cook-Greuter, 1994). Now more than ever, the world needs leaders who operate from post-conventional consciousness because of their transformational capacity, agility, creativity, flexibility and mature insight (Barker & Torbert, 2011; Cook-Greuter, 2004; Joiner & Josephs, 2007; Kegan & Lahey, 2009; Rooke & Torbert, 2005). This research explored whether development to post-conventional consciousness could be facilitated within Australian community leadership programs. "
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    ABSTRACT: This study explored the impact on consciousness development of participating in either standard or enhanced community leadership programs (CLPs) in Australia. Aligned with Manners' and Durkin's (2000) conceptual framework, CLPs offer experiences that are interpersonal, emotionally engaging, personally salient and structurally disequilibriating for later conventional consciousness stages. Enhanced CLPs include additional psychosocial challenges. Participants were 335 adults who took part in one of 4 standard CLPs, 7 enhanced CLPs and 2 (control) management programs. Modal program length was 10 months. Standard and enhanced CLPs were successful in facilitating consciousness development (as measured by the Washington University Sentence Completion Test—WUSCT) within the conventional stages. However, enhanced CLPs were significantly more successful in triggering post-conventional development, and specifically in those participants who had a preference for Sensing (as measured by the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator—MBTI). Enhanced CLPs could provide a model for other development programs aimed at promoting post-conventional consciousness.
    The Leadership Quarterly 12/2014; 26(2). DOI:10.1016/j.leaqua.2014.11.007 · 2.70 Impact Factor
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    • "In the management literature, problem avoidance by leaders is viewed as having a pathological impact on whole organizations. Rooke and Torbert (2005) suggest that 55% of leaders in their sample had difficulties dealing effectively with employee feedback on problems, either because the leaders were only interested in personal gain (5%), found conflict difficult (12%), or had fixed views of the nature of problems based on the use of limited data (38%). "
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    ABSTRACT: Problem avoidance can be an issue in both Eastern and Western cultures, and in some Eastern contexts it can stem from the desire to promote organizational harmony: identifying problems can lead to blame, thereby fracturing harmonious relationships. The authors have developed and applied a Buddhist systems methodology (BSM) to counteract problem avoidance in Taiwanese Buddhist organizations. Unlike many Western action research approaches, which require participants to start by identifying problems or problematic situations, the BSM uses Buddhist concepts that are closely associated with the practice of harmonious living. Thus, it reframes problem exploration as the exercise of Buddhist discipline applied to organizational life, which is likely to be viewed as a co-operative and culturally valued endeavour. In a project with a large non-profit organization, the authors tackled a significant conflict and underlying issues. An evaluation of the project demonstrated that the BSM helped overcome the culture of problem avoidance. While the BSM itself might only be relevant to Buddhist organizations, there is a wider principle at work: when problem avoidance has cultural roots, action researchers could usefully look at how problem exploration might be reframed using a way of thinking that is culturally familiar and highly valued by the participants.
    Action Research 05/2014; 13(2):170-193. DOI:10.1177/1476750314558428 · 0.87 Impact Factor
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