The Reason Organizations Don’t Change
Robert Anderson and William Adams have written a book with big promises that invites leaders on a journey of transformation. They promise to provide readers with the first fully integrated model of leadership develop.
What follows is a narrow, inadequate glimpse into their work.
“Leaders develop, if they develop, through a series of sequential stages …. To ignore this reality is to jeopardize our efforts to transform organizations….”
“Much ‘resistance to change’ is actually the struggle people have with reorganizing their identity.”
Five Levels of Leadership
“Each new level is a triumph of development.”
#1. Egocentric leadership
- What can you do for me?
- Overly independent.
- Lack of self-awareness. You do not see that you live to get your own needs met.
- Lack of shared reality.
- Autocratic and controlling. “My way or the highway.”
#2. Reactive leadership
- Living up to and into the expectations of others.
- Defined by outside in, not inside out.
- Worth and security are based on strengths and capabilities.
- Three forms of reactive leadership:
- Complying. Need to be seen as kind, caring, and supportive.
- Controlling. I am my achievements.
- Protecting. Intellectually superior and emotionally distant.
#3. Creative leadership
- Who am I?
- What do I care most about?
- What do I stand for?
- How can I make my life and my leadership a creative expression of what matters most?
#4. Integral Leadership
- Capable of leading amid complexity.
- Systems thinking.
- Concern for the welfare of the whole system.
- Focus on vision both inside and outside an organization.
- Servant leadership fully emerges.
- Avoid quick fixes and over-simplification.
- Hold opposing viewpoints. Embrace rather than avoid compexity.
#5. Unitive Leadership
“… the astonishing oneness underlying and just behind diversity becomes obvious.”
You must grow and develop if you expect your organization to do the same. The journey begins, for most of us, at level one.
“… personal transformation precedes organizational transformation…”
Organizations transform as their leaders transform. New structures and systems succeed when they express who we are.
“The evolution of the individual and organization are interdependent….”
What levels of leadership have you seen?
How do leaders grow and develop?
Wonderful article based on this book. Just picked up a copy yesterday and was glad to see you highlight key points in your article today. Very sound information and advice – accomplishing is the new challenge.
I am so tired of reactive leadership – lets build upon strengths and capabilities of our leaders.
Great goals for leaders near the end of their leadership – Unitive Leadership
This reminds me of Rooke and Torbert’s Seven Transformations of Leadership (HBR), but is perhaps a little simpler to understand and apply? I’d love to discover more about this concept of oneness behind the diversity. Speaking as someone of faith this makes a whole lot of sense to me, but maybe would be a bit alien to a culture that is increasingly individualist.
What a beautifully succinct description! I have observed all of these various stages in people throughout my career. What a great tool to measure ourselves, how far we’ve come and how far we have yet to go!
“You must grow and develop if you expect your organization to do the same.”….This is a powerful statement, and a message we are working to infuse in our culture. Too often I believe leaders work to develop the organization, and other…..yet do not look into the mirror, and without working on self development. Thanks for all of your wonderful insights Dan.
Great post and very true to life, in my opinion. I believe strongly that more organizations need to develop mentoring programs to assist those desiring to develop their leadership skills along with those that have a natural tendency toward leadership. That relationship development is crucial to helping navigate the path!
My organization happens to be undergoing an evolution towards lean management methods – it’s very challenging as we realize old methods, roles, and responsibilities are going to evolve or in some cases disappear altogether. We’re all leaning on “Dave”, who clearly operates at Level 4. His approach to problem solving and partnering are encapsulated in the “integral leadership” description and we are all thankful for his leadership maturity.
I love this break down of leadership styles, it really helps make sense of it all. Thank you for this incredible blog. I wish I’d discovered it sooner in my career. I feel like I’m a better leader and like I can deal with leaders at my workplace with a lot more patience!
The quote “Much ‘resistance to change’ is actually the struggle people have with reorganizing their identity” is so insightful and powerful. I lived it (in my personal life many years ago) and seen it (when company implemented SAP, replacing many different databases and manual data entry systems).
If those employees resistant to change have an Intergral or Unitive Leader to guide them through the change – giving them insight, opportunities and mentoring, those employees have a much greater chance of successful change and personal and career growth.
Dan, finding and subscribing to your blog 3 months ago has been so valuable to me. It came at the perfect time in my career. Truly edifying. Thank you.
Reorganizing their identity…is a missing piece of the awareness puzzle in my experience.
Often times when a leader is in stage 3 – influences in the organization can undermine their development toward reorganizing their identity and put enormous amounts of pressure to conform to unproductive directives that keep others in their comfort zone.
This is when your outside network can support your leadership development and sense of purpose in reorganizing your identity, as well as alternatives to working within or seeking opportunities outside of the organization.
Made me smile – wryly as I recognised steps in my own journey as well as so many I have looked to for guidance and leadership. Will have to get the book
Interesting! Obviously not copied from John Maxwell, but I can see some parallels with his 5 Levels of Leadership.
I’ve worked in many companies that never get past Egocentric Leadership. As someone who works in the field of business intelligence and analytics, an underdeveloped approach to leadership is becoming glaring obvious. We are immersed in data – data about our own personal performance, the performance of our company, and the performance of our products/services. And yet, many companies are still driven by the opinions of senior managers – leaders who are threatened by the democracy of data.
Dan, this is a very helpful description of what looks to be a valuable book. In my work with churches I often say that personal transformation (pastor and leaders) precedes congregational transformation, so the similar comment about organizational transformation resonates with me. I have also come to think about leadership through three lenses (that seem to come into play in levels #3 and #4. I/we call them personal leadership, organizational leadership, and reproductive leadership (investing in the growth of others). Level #5 seems to move beyond all three of those categories.
I found this an interesting aspect to leadership. I wonder how this would apply in different cultures and how much it is based on the American business model alone? Do they teach principles that apply across into the UK & Europe
Some leaders move from level to level swinging from one to the other depending on the situation.
As accurate as the 5 stages of grief. I find myself in stage 3 with maybe a toe in stage 4, but definitely recognize the earlier ones. I look forward to 4 and 5.
I am interested to see if the book addresses the leap from one stage to the next — the time it “typically” takes and how the hurdles are overcome. I feel I’m largely stuck in stage 2 but know there’s more potential if I can get past my own self limitations.
Excellent thoughts which align with other resources by my mentor John Maxwell on the five levels of leadership and John Collins, “Good to Great.” Developing leaders certainly begins with us as individuals. I would also say an important element is knowing or becoming self-aware of the “why” factor behind your purpose. Looking forward to reviewing the book.
The 5 stages are spot on, great insight!
Sounds a lot like level 5 leadership as discussed in Good to Great.
I appreciate the construct laid out here. I’m not sure that every leader’s development is so linear. For instance, does every leader start out as “Egocentric”? I didn’t – but I sure did start (or pass through) the Reactive stage before I could evolve and get to where I am now. Once they develop, have they left one stage entirely and occupy another, with no traces of the past?
The Harvard Business Review Article “What Makes a Leader?” suggests that there are about 7 different styles of leadership – but all are necessary in different situations. Although we each must be conscious that we generally have one as our default – the one we use when we are not thinking about which style to use – that work suggests that we have to use (and be god at) each one of them according to what the situation demands.
It would be interesting to see what this book has to say not only about the personal journey of leaders, but also how to integrate the different positive elements behind each stage.
Reminds me of a TED talk from a couple of years ago by John Maxwell – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPwXeg8ThWI
Awesome observation. I wish that we all could be as open as you. I know where I’m stuck, and moving to the next phase is sometimes like climbing a rock cliff with no safety rope and having to chip your own holds. If I’d just be more open, I’d see the holds already there for me to use.
I do believe that we are all on a journey and while we may be on different paths, the goal is to know “… the astonishing oneness underlying and just behind diversity . . .” in all aspects of life.
Thanks for this post! I had a compassionate insight about all the leaders I’ve known. We are all on a journey and we may be in different parts of the path; but not judging any one allows me to be open to them and wish them well as they grow and develop. Choosing to embark on the journey consciously, being open to all forms of learning, and using reflection have been how I have chosen to grow and develop.
Interesting approach, looking forward to read more about finding new ways on how to improve the organization through leadership… hard to achieve, but as long as we are trying, we are well positioned
I have really enjoyed the info in your emails. We are a growing business in and the leadership information has truly helped. The bullet points you laid out for this book were great! It sounds like a must read for us.
Iron sharpens Iron…I am true leadershipfreak fan & always eager to learn more!This blog has really been a true blessing..wish could have discover it earlier & enjoy reading it daily!Great insights &Thank you for sharing it!!!
Interesting to see the transformation from “me” focus to “we” focus
I am very excited to see this work and accurate description of leadership stages – eager to read and reflect!
Thanks for cracking the code on the evolution of leaders! This makes complete sense to me, and I plan to share it with my organization’s leadership development group.
Interesting approach to understanding the mechanisms behind truly effective leadership.
Working in an Engineering firm for 5 years taught me that even in domains where the recipes are well proven, there is room for change and improvement. Our leaders adopted the “Integral Leadership” way of thinking and, even with slow markets and business hard to get, we are still growing. I am looking forward to read this book to understand what’s driving them in their day-to-day work.
Based on experiences and conversations I’ve had, most leaders aspire to integral and unitive leadership but most leaders live reactively. I also have observed most leaders overestimate how far they’ve moved from reactive leadership. Transformation is a process and status quo likes to be, well, status quo! Slow movement, progression and regression is likely the most common practice. As a leader, keeping the progression so that stagnation does not happen is what I consider a noble goal and a good place to acknowledge and begin.
The best leaders I’ve ever worked for were and are people who are passionate about all their people contributing to whatever it is that the group has as its objective, whether it’s finding a cure for cancer or being the #1 sales team in their organization. These leaders seem to instill leadership genes so that their people also become outstanding leaders as well. This is not to say that outstanding leaders cannot come from groups led by less than outstanding leader, but it it is much harder to do. It seems like some people who have the capability to become outstanding leaders “early on” fail to do so largely because they are not afforded opportunities by their leaders to contribute to the success of their leaders’ group. But persuading people to look for a leader to learn from is not something that comes easily in an official class when we’re in school, unfortunately.
Personal development is paramount to effective leadership. It seems as though we must develop through these leadership stages daily by acquiring humility. Each day, I begin my journey by acknowledging God’s goodness and my weakness and self-centeredness. God forbid that I should ever think- in this life – that i have arrived. Leadership Freak is a great tool. I am glad you are here.
As a new leader of a team, I think this makes a lot of sense and makes you think about how you see yourself as a leader and what type of leader you want to be. Thank you for sharing.
I too have witnessed the various levels of transformation throughout my career. Great reflection of oneself as well as the ‘team’. Looking forward to picking up this book. Always enjoy the great insight your posts offer.
Informative progression of leadership. Intrigued by the content of this book
I love this framework, and have seen these phases in educational leadership. Our organization is providing leadership growth opportunities for all staff members–leadership is about being engaged in your work–it’s behaviors, not a job title. We believe it’s the small moments that have an impact on others that make the difference. As a result, we’re seeing more positive interactions, gratitude, and staff at all levels feeling valued. Relationships first!
Seems like great insights that can be applied whether or not one is in formal leadership positions. I work on many teams, and those with the titles aren’t necessarily the leaders.
This book sounds like a must read for anyone in leadership. Not only would I read it but, I would share it with as many leaders as I could!
Age/experience unfortunately don’t always correlate with growing into the next phase.
As I look at the team I lead, in particular some whom I am trying to develop, this structure makes a great deal of sense and provides some guidance in working with these leaders. The transition to systems thinking is often uneven as leaders and organizations grow. I curious about whether the book provides some insights on ways to move the needle as leaders within the organization grow and develop.
I have seen this and have grown in some and need work on others. The interesting is being in an organization that can’t move and grow. Many leader potential leave the group just to explode with success in other role when leadership grows with employee the times and challenges. When one must follow the heard it time to get voted off the island. Apologies for the pun but sometime leaving is the best if the vision does not change.
If you have a vision want to grow and take the next step. Make it happen.
So true, and I have witnessed the grim results of not accepting change, it kills companies. This reminds of another post of yours “People grow when they try new things”. I gave this quote to everyone in our office and live by these words every day. Amazing results thus far!
Love it when a posting makes you pause and ponder – does leadership require different styles at different contexts i.e. integral resonates but is reactive also valid at times?
I see a lot of Reactive Leadership amongst upcoming leaders. I would say it’s more of living up to false expectations they have placed on themselves rather than the expectations of others. Usually, when I see a person at the Reactive Leadership stage they do have enough leadership experience not to care about what people with less experience than them think. It’s the people with more experience than that makes the upcoming leaders place false expectations on themselves to live up to their leaders’ level. Or, to prove people wrong who doubted them on their journey to the second stage of leadership. Both of those situations causes upcoming leaders to raise the bar unrealistically high on themselves thus creating more stress on themselves to be to a place in life that yes they will eventually get to but not as fast as they want. The unrealistic expectations causes upcoming leaders to become unhappy with the season they are in because they are trying to get to the next stage of leadership too quickly. What ever happened to enjoying the journey? I once heard it said that if your more focused on the destination than you are the journey then you’ll settle for the glitter and miss the gold.
Worse that that is when organizations think that, in order to maximize net profit on though periods, the easiest way is to fire people. It could also reflect on some margin points, but the impact on long term would be terrible.
This is one of my favorite posts! In my organization, I have watched several of my colleagues change their behaviors in hopes of becoming promoted or landing, what they perceive, as the “ideal” position. I would describe it as a maturity phase, until they no longer serve themselves but others! Some get it while sadley others don’t. Thanks for sharing!
I find that I go back and forth between these stages based on the situation that I am in and who I am with,.
Thanks for the interesting article Dan, and I like the Author’s name (brothers from different mothers). I work within a quasi-military engineering organization (mostly civilian employees working for a military commander) and leadership development programs truly make a positive difference for promotions after a person graduates. I look forward to reading the book.
Like others, I see myself in multiple stages – time to let go of my early stage behaviors and embrace fully the higher level! Looks like a very good read.
Another one to add to my reading list! Thanks for sharing!
Would love to learn more! I see how reactive our organization is and that transformation can’t happen soon enough- however it is a journey!!
Thanks for the post Dan, I’ve seen all levels of leadership in the variety of public sector organizations I’ve worked in. I think key to moving through the stages as seemed assumed by the authors is the ability to learn, reflect and engage others in the journey of leading.Edgar Schein has written a lovely book, Humble Inquiry, which focuses on the need for leaders to have a large share of humility. listen more, ask questions ..I think this aligns with these authors ideas around moving from me to we. These authors seem to emphasize that leading is not a solitary endeavor and is a privilege for anyone who takes up the mantle of leadership.
I never miss a piece of the ‘Freak’. I work with schools existing in a state of desperately needing effective leadership. In other words, schools that will most likely attract newly-empowered or Level 1 leaders. The insight and implications from this understanding speak so much to the continuing work of school improvement. Thank you for this and all the other lessons learned from your work, Dan Rockwell!
So many leaders never make it out of the first step.
As usual, spot in with the “obvious” observations that seem to be so difficult for an organization to see. perhaps its time for each of us, as individuals, to understand and initiate the organizational change necessary.
Great article! Even though I’ve been a leader for many years, I’m just realizing what it really means. Just starting my leadership development journey and looking forward to the next step.
Looks like an interesting book to read. Great topic as usual Dan.
“You must grow and develop if you expect your organization to do the same.”….This is a powerful statement, and a message we must be working to infuse in the culture of every organization
As usual, your pithy comments are valuable to us at the southern tip of Africa – Cape Town. Leading and managing a secondary school – staff and learners all male and all white twenty years ago – has been challenging. Putting one’s ego aside is definitely the first step in educational change. Reacting to crises certainly is a stage (revisited from time to time) and that seems to precipitate clarifying values. Integral leadership is about walking the talk consistently – and reflectively. My anecdotal experience would support the sequence the authors suggest. Thanks for the eye-opening synopsis – your work is a mainstay for me and our team. best wishes for an adventurous 2016.
my organization is going through a reorg right now and understanding more and more how my role as a leader who will be negatively impacted is even more important and how I act now is my legacy for the future
Hi. As a mid manager with 11 direct reports working for a government agency that has realigned twice in the past 5 years, I am looking for ways to keep my folks motivated while feeling fulfilled and successful. Without them we have nothing. I also have to drive forward the dept initiatives and cultural shifts . I would love to have a copy of your book if it speaks to the balancing between leading my people, managing the right results while continuance of change.
“… personal transformation precedes organizational transformation…” Unfortunately in many organizations the focus is organizational change preceding personal change.
I enjoy this perspective on leadership levels, as well as many others about leadership styles/types/etc. There are common themes between them all.
I propose that one of our main villains in this story is “Urgency”.
It is too easy to shift back from “we” to “me” when Urgency rears its ugly head. Especially when it is invited to the party from those above us. “Logic” may be forced to the backseat when strong “Emotions” show up.
When the entire cast of characters are present, it is hard to get the spotlight focused back on levels 3-5 (maybe even 2 as well). Logic and Purpose need to come back onto the main stage and help reprioritize items to head in the best direction.
I believe Urgency may report to a bigger boss: Fear.
Fear may live in others or in us. The perception is Fear is a very tough (unbeatable?) opponent. This perception may be false, but it may be true in some circumstances as well. You will need a plan if you choose to confront Fear.
I’m straying from the article. I like the concepts presented. I have not read the book to see what advice or objectives need to be considered to move from one level to the next. All of the above may be addressed in ways that make it easier for anyone to succeed.
Back to the 2 questions we were asked:
1. What levels of leadership have you seen?
In practice – up to level 3. in “talk” – all of them. Lol.
2. How do leaders grow and develop?
You can learn and develop by exposing yourself to different situations. Learning can be from doing or observing. The common ingredient that needs to be present is “thinking”. We learn by thinking about what are we doing and/or observing. Add intentional and purposeful reflection after the event with a little dose of motivation and you are well on your way.
Great article. A little unnerving to see myself at level 2 but am looking forward to growth and movement into 3 and beyond.
This conversation makes me think and reflect every time. I use it with the students I teach to bring the “real” world to them. Thanks!
Taking on the leadership job doesn’t make you a leader. Constant learning and improvement always required.
Great article. I believe many leaders get caught up in Level 2 and 3. However we need them to continue growing to Levels 4 and 5 to be able to see the big picture and truly help the whole organization. Most leaders do not see that they get stuck looking at their own ambitions and how they are perceived.
I find most leaders in upper management have a hard time listening to every level of their organization. It is the leader whole can listen, reflect, understand and empower other to help come up with new ideas, solutions and a cohesive working organization.
My favorite part in the introduction to the book is how it all goes back to the inner work that needs to be done in order to integrate the whole leadership model into one cohesive model. I find the need for the deep inner work on a regular basis so I don’t end up spinning in all of the leadership models. : )
Love this today… working on a massive change management project in our community around the governance of our school system, and it’s amazing how threatening that “astonishing oneness” behind diversity can be for people who have spent so long feeding their identity that they are different from someone else. Powerful food for thought as we go into this season of time to relax and reflect!
thank you – keep beeing happy
Investing in the development of current and future leaders is critical to an organization’s success, and remains a challenge to many companies. Staff may look one or two levels ahead of them to see “what it takes” to move up. Are they seeing the management skills and behaviors you want in your organization?
Excellent, a wonderful analysis of the steps on the ladder UPwards!
This is very insightful. If there is one thing that has been helpful to me in the modern stress on Leadership skills, it has been the focus on evaluating my own leadership (and lack there-of). With only a few years to go in my pastoral career, I can look back and see that I lived much of my ministry without a real thought about such things–I just did ministry and cooperatively led my congregations. But now I think a lot more about it and I’ve also gotten several leaders from my congregation to sign up for this newsletter.
Insightful and instructive! After serving in several organizations in transition, I realize that the organization itself can exert pressures on a leader that takes them away from their own identity. When that realization happens, the leader can focus on bringing their own “best” to each day– or live with something far less. Health, for the leader and the organization, comes with the authentic acceptance of reality. As leaders we move back and forth between levels. Reflection and intention can make the difference in transition.
Interesting! This is a somewhat different perspective than what John Maxwell has written about in his 5 Levels of Leadership. His is progressive starting at Level 1 = leading from a position of authority up to Level 5 = Leading to develop others as leaders themselves (and I am GROSSLY oversimplifying it!). From the simple description given in this blog it would seem that Mastering Leadership is more introspective, looking at the leader’s motives and working to develop the leader’s perspective. Maxwell takes a slightly different view, encouraging the leader to look not only within, but at the impact and interaction with their followers as well. From this level, it looks like the new book would be a great addition to the mindset and practice of developing leaders.
I am very excited to read this book. I am part of a new leadership team full of creative(3) and integral (4) leaders. The staff which is full of egocentric(1) and reactive (2) leaders is struggling and resisting the changes that we are encouraging. This article helped me understand a little better where they are. I hope the book will help me understand how to help them along, as well as how to get our leadership team to Unitive (5) leaders.
I am on the board of a Home Owner’s Association. I have been learning much as I go. Your articles and posts have taught me a great deal as we attempt to move our leadership from reactionary to more planning and thinking for the future. Thank you for the quick information that your provide!
I loved the description of why and how people transition with change, in the lead quote. This is so true – change can be difficult. But strong leaders know not to give in to resistance but to stay the course, lead the way into change. Sometimes difficult, but necessary to effect change.
Good post – I can easily see the progression from one level to another. I avoided the egocentric level through observing others in that area, but then ended up stuck in a reactive setting when I started moving up in academia, simply due to the load.
As I start at a new institution, this is perfect timing to reconsider how to become a more creative leader!
Great read Dan. It is so true that organizations don’t transform until the leaders do.
Explains a lot.
This lays out the process of being a leader in a simplified form……perfect timing for a perfect gift for me to purchase for my supervisor’s for us to learn together
As many have stated above, leadership involves each of the 5 levels and evolved leaders never truly function in just one of the levels but have mastered how to move confidently within each of the levels appropriately. Each has its time and place.
I also noticed several others have recognized themselves in certain levels or having “moved through” a level and are looking forward to the other levels. It is not a linear process but rather an interactive cross and circular process. It is important to recognize where you are as a leader in each of the levels, understand those where you are the most comfortable or natural and then work on those which challenge you.
I am very interested in reading how this book discusses the practical and daily application of each level and how to apply each appropriately and reasonably
Thanks Dan for this post as it couldn’t come at a better time as I just unexpectedly lost one of the greatest leaders I have ever known!
Unfortunately I’ve seen too much egocentric and reactive leadership in my day. That is, who most of us, are by nature. We have to be intentional to stray from those two views. As a leader, I’m trying to get myself to the integral leadership by growing and serving, but it takes time. And the more time you achieve it, the more potential you will grow to the unitive leadership. Unitive leadership is only accomplished with longevity and servanthood.
I am interested in reading this book and growing in principle. Thank you for the opportunity to be challenged in my thinking. Can’t wait to talk through this with my young adult mentorship team!
One word egocentric are big fools
Good post. This looks like a great book. After reading the levels I realized a couple things. I’ve been coaching my son (a young executive chef) who seems to be in level one. While I myself am probably only in level 3, not consistently demonstrating the concepts in level 4. Humbling… which is good thing.
Like so many aspects of life, paroxidically we must look inward to get the external results we want. When automation and process seem to rule, @leadershipfreak provides leaders with the tools vital for our times and along the way reminds us that leadership is not programmable, it’s personal.
Thanks Dan. Today even I don’t have words to express my happiness for such a wonderful blog. It’s one of my favourite blogs ever posted by you.
One more thing I really want to add transformation of a person or a organisation never happens in isolation. People First or defined parameters first. Am Very clear people are always first and their development must be the first goal.
2. On leaders transformation , I am very clear it’s completely having a resonance that they are self driven and what they think express strongly or sometimes never, things keep changing but their thoughts process remain under changing environment but they proceed in their own way with a said changed style in a stride.
3. Leadership is like a old wine , you can change bottles but blend would remain sanly same. It’s a job of passionate people, thinkers can’t be a good leaders.
4 Still needs a lot of understanding on types of leadership and types of transformational leadership.
But I still prefer expressive leadership.
You are spot on! Thank you for sharing. This a “keeper” article…
Excellent article. Too many of us in leadership roles continued in their tasks without the necessary introspection which could result in improved performance by the leader and a better experience and contribution by employees.
I’m excited to learn more.
As a current student in the doctor of business administration my dissertation addresses what is lacking in leadership and if AL sho is self wzre cam impact work engagement in a positive manner and this topic affirms some of my theories if whats lacking. I would love the book as a source.
Very interesting. I wish more folks in leadership positions had access and interest in continually evolving themselves and their organizations.
Great stuff – I smiled when I saw the title “The reason Organization don’t change” … my thought was because people have to … which you have nicely pointed out .. however how often do we try to go into an organization and affect change at the system level and fail miserably when we need to start with leadership first and foremost
I really liked the summary, Dan.
And I want to add one thought: the second person who posted said: “I am so tired of reactive leadership – lets build upon strengths and capabilities of our leaders.”
And I think, EVERY candidate in the debates who purport to be our leader have not gone beyond level two. Maybe a better use of the 20 copies would be to send them to those people who say they want to lead us.
Thank you again for your generosity in letting us experience the people who you see as leaders who have something to offer to us.
I will certainly need to read this book, as it seems to be a fresh take on some familiar leadership development themes I see with my clients all the time!
Excellent recap, sounds like you could do a post on each of the five levels?
Thanks for all you do to raise the bar on effective leadership.
Merry Christmas to all!
THANK YOU! The majority of the leaders in our firm are “my way or highway” type. Mastering Leadership sounds promising. I look forward to the read.
The stages of leadership sound very much like the stages of cultural competence. Imagine the success of organizations that excel in both!
I see egocentric leadership too often. Too many leaders thinking of themselves only and not about their team or who they serve. A good example would be in the drama Doctor X, I hope there are truly not organizations that exist like in this show to the extreme they portray, but unfortunately there are leaders who are part of organizations like this. We have one at the location I work at that cares only about how something affects her and if she doesn’t like it regardless of the organizational benefit, she will fight it. I am not sure how she has made it this long…
I enjoy all your work. This is another fine article. Thanks. Joe Sauer
Thank you for sharing this! I would love to continue to grow as a leader and this daily blog is a great bit of brain/leadership food for the day.
Reality in our world is change, become the Chameleon and you will master change! Will you succeed is the other side of the coin? The chameleon changes on the outside how do we as leaders change on the inside and Blossom on the outside?
Sounds like an intriguing book.
Very timely post. Sounds like a great book that provides practical applications. I’d like to think I’ve made it to creative leadership and worry I may still be reactive. Can’t wait to read this one. Thanks for post.
For those of us who were not professionally trained for, but are now in a position of leadership or management, Dan’s articles and tweets are an amazing source of guidance. If he is recommending this book then it needs to be on my reading list.
This provides a blueprint for leadership, if there is such a thing, but more importantly it can be utilized by leaders as a reflective tool to assess their own leadership and how they need to continue to grow and evolve to meet the ever-changing demands of their constituency.
Perfect alignment with Wilber’s Integral Model. Great info.
Once again, it is great post .. Helps move towards the Good to Great.
The higher levels of leadership all seem to revolve around the concept of building a community.
All too often, I see leaders get stuck somewhere around level 3 emerging into level 4. It takes good coaching, trust and evolved leadership (and a good HR team) to move them further along.
Keen to learn more and definitely experiencing level 1 and 2 leadership right now.
This book sounds great! I am a relatively new leader and can see my personal journey of development in the first 2 stages. I would love to read about these in more detail as I feel I am stepping into a new phase of my leadership and it will be useful to read about all of the stages to reflect where I could be going next.
This book sounds fantastic. I seem to be stuck at Level 2 and am so eager to break free and transform myself and empower my team. I think fear is my greatest enemy – being afraid to venture out and be my own person and lead from the heart for fear of rejection or ridicule. I’ll be setting new goals for myself as a leader in 2016.
I agree with the principal that personal transformation proceeds organizational change. I have seen this in my own journey.
One of the biggest mistakes I have made is expecting change in the areas I have lead while neglecting my personal growth. This caused me to lead out of frustration, lack good communication and place unrealistic expectations on others.
Embrace change, be open to change with change comes improvement, facilitating change can be rewarding. When working with leaders who are not open to change give me new tools every time. Enjoy all leadership freak articles.
Great article. Looking forward to reading more about this topic.
From the given information, this book seems to have a detailed and critical analysis on various leadership style. Today most of the leaders are found to be egocentric and comfortable in managing with their own set of team ignoring some genuine and dedicated managers. Look forward to read the book soon.
This whole thing on leadership, self awareness and transformation is a concept whose time has finally arrived. In my organization – a government department, we put the entire organization through a transformational leadership programme. Everyone Mandatory. We were ahead of the curve and we had to do it for any number of important business reasons.. The effects were not as life changing as many would have liked but we are now seeing a greater desire for self aware leaders who are introspective, empathetic as well as solid decison makers As one of our change management practitioners inmy dept I clearly see that the leaders who believed in The transformational leadership concepts have far better take up and adoption of change initiatives in their activity areas. This book would go a long way in reinforcing what we’re working to instill in our leadership cadre. From the sample read – it is explains so well the process every one has to go theough to achieve that level of awareness to lead .
This looks like a great read… Looking forward to picking it up!
Dear Dan; Fabulous as always! It is a shame how many “leaders” stand in the way of their organizations’ success. As a High Performance Expert and Performance Turnaround Specialist (incl. Troubleshooter) I sometimes have an internal struggle seeing the truth and looking in employees (begging) eyes, knowing that their C-Suite doesn’t care about their well-being, and that there will be no change. I just recently returned “my paycheck” to a “Pseudo Leader” who wanted to hire me to justify in front of his board that he was doing his part. I can’t be part of such an unethical behavior/plan…. Cordially and Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays!Helena
“I never lose…Either I win, or I learn!”
Helena Nyman – Your Corporate Ninja & Executive Champion Maker
Definitely interested in reading this book.
I’ve been subscribing to your blog for some time now and can’t begin to express my appreciation at the thoughts your words have inspired in my own personal journey.
I find the most impact from articles that I can relate to past experiences as they bring clarity to my own actions as a manager. When I find validation of my own actions through your words, I take comfort in the fact that I am indeed on a path of growth.
I manage a successful retail store and find pride in developing people. I believe that personally, I lie somewhere between the 3rd and 4th step on this scale. I don’t know that by this scale you can ever truly leave the third stage as if you value personal growth, wouldn’t you always be redefining who you are? Adapting to your experiences and evolving? Perhaps I’m just arguing semantics here but it’s a tickle in my mind that isn’t going away so I’d enjoy any clarity you might offer on that thought.
As I look back on past experiences, I find I’ve found the most joy in my work as I help others transition from ego-centric and reactive leadership towards creative and integral leadership. It’s very fulfilling to see those I’ve helped develop find themselves and develop that confidence and self-awareness as they transition from managers to leaders. I find joy in what I do when I find the right sequence of words and state something with enough clarity that I see that ‘click’ of recognition that comes with the understanding of a bigger picture.
As my own journey evolves, I continue to direct associates to this blog in the hopes that they too find clarity and gain new perspective with your words. Thanks for all that you do.
Totally true: organization change begins with leaders and must go from top to bottom. Not the other way around. I’ve seen two ‘major’ organization changes, first of which was handed down from the managing director in a presentation and voided by the board right after that, as they stated to people leaving the presentation not to worry, because “everything will continue the way they were despite of this change”…
But totally agree with this post: change begins with leaders. How you lead the change determines how it will come out.
In order to live in levels 3-5, there must be a collective belief that what we are doing really matters.
I am new to management and love the information and related materials found here.
Love the breakdown! Can’t wait to read.
At first it seemed like a repeat of Maxwell’s 5 levels of leadership, but it seems to emphasize the inside out leadership in a more simple way. The emphasis on personal transformation inside a leader’s heart and character which leads to outside transformation in the organization is very insightful. Thanks for sharing this resource, Dan. I love the simplicity of your “narrow and inadequate glimpse”. Very practical and easy to identify my own stages of growth and leadership.
I am always impressed by your concise and high quality advice. This one is no exception – that is why I share each of your great articles on all my social media accounts! 👍
Thanks Dan for another insightful post. The quote that stands out for me is, “You must grow and develop if you expect your organization to do the same. The journey begins, for most of us, at level one.”
As adults, it seems that we tend to stop learning. We expect our children to go to school and come home and do their homework, study for tests and participate in extracurricular activities. But are we investing in our growth – doing our homework? My goal for 2016 is to invest in myself, which will in turn invest in my people, my company and my world.
Thank you for the chance to be selected for a free copy of the leadership book!
Definitely excited for this book. I love learni g how to be come a better lwader and how I can develop leaders in the teams that I supervise. Sounds like a book that will offer much.
Dan, your posts are like golden nuggets in an endless span of gravel
Read your posts daily. Allows looking for new idea.
Leaders are on a continuous journey of growing and developing. They are building self-awareness, managing themselves, and influencing as well as inspiring others. They focus on their humility and generosity to enhance their openness and authenticity. It is a continuous pursuit based on feelings from the heart.
Is this the line for the free book? Lol!
I’ve seen levels 1 and 2 mostly, and a few outstanding level 4. I’ll like to find out more about level 3 and especially level 5, a most interesting unitive leadership. As a leader, one can grow and develop by reading constantly a diverse range of topics outside his / her domain of expertise and able to make connections and relevance to keep up with the latest trends. Also important to combine with a continuous sense of introspect and curiosity to always find out how to do things better.
The five levels are really making me think about where I am in my development as a leader. Thank you.
This would be a great gift for my husband!
We are second generation management and for us, I think it’s just easier. We know what needs to be done, but the added work for us and the resistance from long time personnel seem to be our excuse. We definitely need some changes to continue to thrive!
Because of comfort.
Sounds like a great resource for both self and organizational development. Thanks for sharing.
I haven’t thought of organizational transformation in terms of personal transformation of its leaders, but it makes sense. How can an organization changes if its leaders don’t make personal changes? I’m looking forward to learning more about this.
I agree with these and I also like John Maxwell’s 5 Levels of Leadership. I do believe to lead is to influence. I have worked under all types of leadership, and Levels 1 & 2 don’t seem to work real well in most situations. My current boss has a participative style and that seems to work much better than autocratic or authoritarian. – Tim Goodman
One way leaders grow is through pressure that can come from a variety of sources but is often a result of a negative outcome from a situation or task. The leader grows as he owns up to short comings and realigns with principals that produce better results.
People in organizations need to be willing to accept and participate in change. The leaders cannot do it alone.
Old boss a solid #1…the new boss a combo #3/4…the last manager meeting all of us spoke to each other instead of sitting in silence and fear. Clearly a dynamic improvement in the mood of the room without a self centered leader.
For me, the key to “Personal transformation precedes organizational transformation….” is my motivation. For example, when my motivation is egocentric, I will not be able to move past #2. Thanks for the reminder!
The key for me is to focus on my leadership sweet spot, when I connect with the climate and culture of my team. Then collectively grow together, towards where we want to be. Great post Dan!
I find that way too many people feel threatened if the change isn’t change they themselves initiate.
Many organizations start the transformation but few are able to carry the transformation to a successful end.
I’d love the book to learn more about leadership!!
This looks like a book that bridges the ideas of leadership and something like Lencioni’s, The Advantage. Looking forward to it.
I have seen level 1 and 2 in all of my management experience and I am currently struggling to not seem crazy to others who avoid complexity as I approach or dive in to level 4. I’d love a copy of this book!
Dave Ramsey’s Entreleadership has taught me to develop myself, to develop others, that will in turn develop the organization.
It would be quite interesting to see this type of review includes in corporate development so leaders know which level they are at and should could more easily identify the characteristics of the level best suited to the company.
It will be interesting to learn how long they suggest for each level, and then how to make the
actual changes from one level to the next in their book.
Great content & opportunity!
Passionate about leadership in all it form and in building it around me. Great review BUT sorry to say too Westernize not to mentione Americanize !
When living outside of the US under different environment, values, culture, social norms … Leadership in action is an ever bigger challenge that your classification, types does not reflect enough the internatioanl diversity of leading in Asia for example.
Again interesting but not sure of it usefulness when leading a Thai team !
Daily I look for your gems of wisdom that not only help me, but inspire me to be a better leader!!!
Great articles and reads Dan. I’ve been following your feed for sometime now. I’m currently trying to attain my MBA and right now I’m taking organizational leadership. The best thing about the course is that I’m able to apply in real time at work.
Interesting–thank you for your insight
Wonderfully succinct description of leadership. Thanks for sharing.
Transformation is good. Lasting transformation is great.
Dealing with reactive leadership is draining both mentally and emotionally. Looking for ways to help create a positive change to become proactive rather than reactive.
Very insightful! I am bust trying to figure out where I am other leaders I know are in the different stages…
We all learned the law of entropy in high school science which aligns well with what it takes to be a good leader. It takes energy and focus to unlock team value and achieve excellence. There is no easy way if you want to make it to that level, but the reward of seeing those outcomes is fantastic.
I am a leadership ideology junky and get my hands on all I can to “get understanding”. As a leadership coach some of my best has come from my mentor Christopher McCluskey and this sounds like it will line up well with what he has put before us in our training 🙂
As I contemplate the opportunity to lead our school to a new place I’m inspired and influenced by your books and. Ant wait to spread the books to those who can make an impact on others!
Interesting to think of leadership in the form of these levels. The sentence that most inspired me was that you must grow and develop if you expect your organization to dot he same.
Great article – thanks for sharing with us!
My organization resists change out of fear. Fear of leaving what is known and comfortable. Fear of losing security. Fear of losing control. I am learning I control less than I thought, but have influence to a much greater degree than I had imagined. So I invest time where I can influence change for the better, while cognizant of the fears around me.
Would love to win the book. Going thru corporate merger and rebrand at work.
Very challenging concepts. I am getting ready for a fresh start in a different administrative position and would love a fresh perspective.
What an accurate to describe sequential groth oriented -inside out leadership. Thanks Dan😎
As one who teaches leadership on the Masters level in a seminary, I am committed to teaching transformational leader and am convinced that personal transformation precedes organizational
These are all interesting stages for a leader to explore. In 2015 I was put into a role where my leadership was challenged daily, the folks were stressed, our deadlines were tight, and most importantly there was no trust. I feel after 8 months there has been a huge shift in the team, but I found myself going through these stages identified in this article. We are still far off from sitting back and saying we have made it! I know all the members on this team need multiple facets of my leadership to turn it around….I’m constantly trying to learn knew things or soak up new tools that will help me on this journey be a better leader for them and me.
Leadership research is changing rapidly, implementation of new techniques is difficult without fear of change and personal challenge. Looks like a definite read in 2016
This information affirms what most of the other leadership information I have read implies, which is that the quality and level of leadership begins with the quality and level of leadership of the individual leader.
As a new leader later in my career, I am so excited I found your blog. I’m looking forward to developing myself and my team. I want them to be confident and successful in their jobs. With decades of experience leaving the workforce I have a huge challenge in front of me. Finding your blog at this point in my career is perfect! I’ll be picking up this book. Thanks for sharing Dan.