Monday, March 15, 2010

3G Leader Characteristics

In the Harvard Business Review's book "Leaders on Leadership" (1992), Jimmy Carter, past President of the USA, says: "[a leader requires] the ability to work with other people, the capacity to expand one's mind and one's heart as the years go by, and to see the broader dimensions of the future. Most important, it's necessary not to fear the prospect of failure but to be determined not to fail. If a leader is not willing to attempt things that might not succeed, then he has little faith in himself or the goal he seeks to achieve."

In my book "Leaders: diamonds or cubic zirconia" (1998) I quote the people interviewed as stressing the first building block for a leader is for a person to recognise that they have a leadership responsibility and, coupled with this, to have the self confidence to acknowledge they are not always right and so a preparedness to enlist help from others and to apologise when they are wrong.

Both of these are activities that are possible because the leader has moved away from the red zone of anxiety to the blue zone of courage (see They are characteristics of Third Generation Leadership and of 3G Leaders.

Other characteristics of Third Generation Leadership and 3G Leaders are:
  • they engage with others rather than seeking to obtain obedience or compliance
  • they are collaborative and facilitative
  • they encourage growth and self directed learning by everyone
  • they respect other people even if they are not receiving respect in return
  • they invite questions and discussion
  • they ask questions with a view to helping others find their own solutions
  • they listen to help others engage with their own or shared solutions
  • they are totally non discriminatory in thought, word and action

Because of these characteristics, 3G Leaders are able to create environments in which people feel:

  • emotionally safe
  • unconditionally respected
  • believed in as individuals
  • listened to

and these are the critical conditions for people to be engaged not only with what they do but also with those they are doing it with. These are the optimal conditions for organisational and personal success.

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