An Anti-leadership Model

In my eight years of facilitating the Sage Leadership Academy, I have flirted with a dozen or more leadership models: Myers-Briggs, Emotional Intelligence, PDP, Kingdomality, Transactional vs. Transformational, generational differences and a few others.

Honestly, I have found all such models to be hopelessly flawed in their attempts to label people. Some are OK, and provide fun group exercises, but they are business’s equivalent of astrology.

In my work with small and medium business people, I have personally identified the two things that the most successful leaders do:

  1. They self regulate their own anxiety. They do not let the anxiety of others to become or heighten their own anxiety. (I have written on empathy as psychological disorder in the past.)
  2. They are masters at confronting people with their own freedom. The see beyond the surface of the particular problem or question and either a) ask a better deeper question that promotes the person to see their own set of choices, or b) state a truth to the person that the person was unable to see or willing to acknowledge.

I have not identified the “competencies” of such leaders in any formal way. All my evidence is anecdotal.

PS – I tweeted and FB’ed the lead for this post and it created a flurry of activity on my Facebook page. I am not sure if you need to be my friend in order to view it. If so, send me a request and I will add you.

3 thoughts on “An Anti-leadership Model

  1. For those who haven’t taken Ed’s Sage Consulting Academy & are considering it, stop thinking about it & do it! It will be your best investment this year.

    It is the best 5 days that I’ve ever spent in a classroom since I sat behind Jill Trapp in junior high school.

    Why do I think this? It’s simple. Ed invites you to think. Thinking isn’t a requirement to pass the class but it sure makes it alot more enjoyable.

    One of the items that I discovered about Ed & his style of teaching is that your time will not be wasted. Every moment has a purpose & for this writer it made me want to keep coming back for me.

    One of the other truths, at least for me, was that I thought that I was going to learn more about consulting, which I did, but I ended up learning more about myself, both professionally & personally & I have a deep sense of gratitude to Ed for opening my eyes.

  2. Ed,

    I think you are spot on. I have been trying to pull together demographics on traditional decision makers (business leaders) – and trying to gauge the generational shift in leadership, e.g. family-owned business passing from father to son/daughter.

    As a result, I have slogged through a bunch of articles on Boomers compared to Gen X compared to Gen Y/Millennials. The descriptions, summaries, comparisons are laughable. As are the recommendations on how best to manage/communicate.

    Anxiety is running rampant (look at Washington) and the problem solving that needs to happen, won’t happen until we jettison the anxiety and ask the bigger, better questions and insist on stating the truth – as you point out.

    Great post.

  3. I fully agree. I voiced the same view in many of my meetings and public discussion, in particular the flaws of these tests as well as the limitation we place on people when we categorize and label them. Bigger and more costly problem is using these models to hire talents. Worse than that? Using the 360 to evaluate team members. Never worked, never will for me. On the flip side, these tests and models provide great insight on Our style and how to enhance Our strengths, overcome and minimize Our weaknesses, and handle both Our accomplishment and challenges more effectively to enhance Our experience and journey, and as a result the experience for those around us.

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