5 LEVELS OF LEADERSHIP
Data will always be perceived and interpreted through a person's level of awareness, consciousness, and cultural context. So, for example, when Amy Edmonson talks about being psychologically safe, or Brené Brown talks about being vulnerable, and a conventional leader is viewing that, it will go south because a conventional leader is not psychologically safe from within and hates being vulnerable,
—but are often unaware of it.
A conventional leader desires power and control over the outcome and other people's behavior more than freedom, empowerment, self-responsibility, accountability, free will, self-expression, and uniqueness. The more we practice what is stated above, the harder it is to control the outcome, big or small. The situation becomes VUCA which most leaders aren't happy with, and most business-, promotions-, and bonus models aren't built for.
You find conventional leaders in politics, companies, and families. A conventional leader will advocate restrictions, self-regulation, adaptation, less experimental, and you being compliant calling it "safety, care and consideration." A conventional leader will use shame, blame, guilt, and fear to make people submissive and obedient to whatever narrative. A conventional leader will celebrate obedience with privileges, often higher ranking in a dominant hierarchy. Conventional leaders do not create merit hierarchies, they use identity politics and dominance. This hinders the development and growth of psychologically safe environments.
A transformational leader would advocate values like authenticity, openness, honesty, and transparency leading by example. A transformational leader would advocate self-responsibility instead of responsibility for other people's thoughts, emotions, and triggers. Expecting high standards in self-awareness and always striving for self-improvement foster a deliberately developmental culture and psychologically safe environment. However, an individual operating from victim consciousness would find this culture very uncomfortable and unsafe.
The conventional and transformational leaders would both refer to Amy's research to build their case, while implementing it would look very different. What I find a bit disturbing is that in all the leadership training I have participated in and conducted, we never talked about awareness, consciousness, and cultural context. In today's leadership training, the leader is often taken away from the cultural context in which they operate daily, which is insane. It is a result of conventional individuals creating leadership training.
That is the missing link I have been searching for. It explains why some truly transformational leaders never get through to their members and why conventional leaders will make top-performing candidates quit their jobs.
If we want an updated modern version of leadership training and development, there is no way we can leave out a module talking about awareness, consciousness, and cultural context. Culture is not about skin color, ethnicity, or nationality; it is about values and beliefs, many of which are subconscious to us. That is why conventional leaders would probably call themselves transformational, while transformational leaders don't care about titles.
When did you update your leadership training and development curriculum, and did you include different levels of leadership awareness, different levels of culture, and different levels of individual consciousness? If not, give me a call, and I could maybe inspire you to modernize it further.
Situational leaders are able to identify merits and differentiate different levels of merits among their members in relation to task and context. Identity does not matter, merits matter and the merits hierarchies are always evolving. A decade ago you could still score the greatest title based on your theoretical and intellectual understanding of the industry. These days top companies are looking for resilience, and psychological safety, existential self-management, and a sustainable lifestyle. Companies are looking for passion, determination, perseverance, and mental health indicators. Merits have evolved and will keep evolving.