Leadership Emerging

Russ Volckmann

Spiritual Leadership in the Entreprenurial BusinessMario Fernando, Spiritual Leadership in the Entrepreneurial Business: A Multifaith Study. Northampton, MA, USA or Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, 2007.

Globilization is not just a phenomenon of economics and business. We have long known that it is a phenomenon of culture, as well. The Integral Leadership Review seeks to be a leader in the globilization of knowledge development that will offer alternatives to historic patterns and open segments of many cultures to more integrative ways of perceiving, comprehending and practicing leadership in this “one world.” Therefore, it is particularly gratifying (although we can make no claim of contribution in this case) to find a book about entrepreneurship and spirituality in Asian organizations written by a Sri Lankan:

“Prior to his entry into academia, for over ten years, Mario held Board level and management consulting positions. He brings with him industry experience from Sri Lanka, USA and New Zealand. He was associated with the global operations of multinationals including PepsiCo and Singapore Telecom. As the head of a management development operation, he has also designed and facilitated several hundred management development programs for senior managers.”

And his own accounts tells us how he grew up and was educated in Sri Lanka in a process and society that exposed him to Christianity (particularly Catholicism), Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam. He states,

“I have come to accept that people are essentially good and spirituality is something that is essentially good.…I think that spirituality is like reading: although generally reading is intrinsically good, upon further reflection, it can be an instrumental good. In other words, it depends on what you read.…spirituality can then be viewed as representing a dual nature: good and bad spirituality. However, this book is about the former…”

Particularly exciting is that this author is exploring leaders rarely examined in western management and leadership literature, namely Asian entrepreneurs. And still he finds connections with the western literature on the subject. For example, entrepreneurs of different faith conceptualize spirituality as the emergence of connection with a transcendent and ultimate reality which acts as a source of inspiration, guidance and solace. The author carefully reviews the literature on spiritual leadership and the need for it in organizations.

By studying spiritual leadership we are dealing with two constructs that do not have specific definitions on which there is consensus. He continues,

“In this book I do not explore spiritual leadership as an observable phenomenon occurring when a person in a leadership position embodies spiritual values such as integrity, honest, and humility, creating the self as an example of someone who can be trusted, relied upon, and admired…In contrast I describe spiritual leadership from the view point of spiritual business leaders’ behaviour.”

He finds two key qualities of spiritual leadership:

  1. A connection with self, others candor an ultimate reality, and
  2. A need to direct and motivate self and/or others to develop an organizational culture founded on a sense of shared community.

Interestingly, he finds that entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka have an “highly collectivist and strong affiliation-need orientation,” unlike the individual achievement orientation of their Western counterparts.

Diversity among these leaders is of three types:

  1. Religious-based and the use of religious practices at work,
  2. Value-based with corresponding practices, such as a code of ethics, and
  3. Self-growth based and practices such as the use of cross functional groups to promote fulfillment of potential.

From his work he draws eight conclusions about spiritual leadership:

  1. There is a connection with an ultimate ideal, reality, the divine, god or truth;
  2. The sense of connection is the key construct in the intercultural study of spiritual leadership;
  3. A connection with an ultimate power inspires leaders and leads to
    a. role modeling for others in the organizational culture,
    b. greater ethical decision-making, and
    c. influencing followers to resolve ethical dilemmas in the organization;
  4. Spiritual leaders are highly committed to the well-being so stakeholders in the organization;
  5. These leaders have a profound impact on others;
  6. There is reason to have concern about the faddish nature of the phenomenon;
  7. The leadership literature does not adequately reflect the degree to which Eastern philosophies have influence on workplace spirituality; and
  8. “Spiritual leadership is set to thrive effectively and fairly with the appreciation of a multi-perspective view of spirituality and diversity in the enactment of workplace spirituality.

This is a valuable study, albeit with limited data, but data nevertheless that yields rich analysis.

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Kellerman FollwershipBarbara Kellerman, “What Every Leader Needs to Know About Followers,” Harvard Business Review, 85, 12, December 2007.

Barbara Kellerman. Followership: How Followers Are Creating Change and Changing Leaders. Boston: Harvard Business Press, 2008.

It is important to respect the work of leadership theorists who come before us. After all, any truly integral model and application to leadership will require us to stand on the shoulders of these giants. What has been interesting about the field of leadership theory is the growing recognition of the inadequacy of much of our work on understanding leadership. We have been going through a long, long period of fragmentation of theory and research that leaves us wanting for something more complete, more accurate, that enfolds variables so frequently dealt with partially by just about anything you read about leadership. There has been growing evidence that things may be changing, not the least of which is this article by Barbara Kellerman, James MacGregor Burns lecturer on Leadership in the John F. Kennedy School of leadership at Harvard.

One way this is showing up is the growing body of literature, which examines the relationship between leaders and followers. Kouzes and Posner have been advocates of attending to this relationship in the “popular” leadership literature—they conduct extensive research, but take little public notice of the leadership theories found in academia, no doubt in a justified and successful attempt to attract those practicing and developing leadership in the world. Kellerman sites the work of three more: Abraham Zalesznik, Robert Kelley and Ira Chaleff. She chose the three from among others in order to demonstrate that some theorists are beginning to construct theories of types of followers based on:

Zalesznik: dominance vs submission and activity vs. passivity,
Kelley: levels of independence and activity,
Chaleff: level of support and degree of challenges by the followers.

The article is based on Kellerman’s book Followership: How Followers Are Creating Change and Changing Leaders has just been published, offers a new typology based on the level of engagement:

  1. Isolates who are essentially detached.
  2. Bystanders who observe and do not participate.
  3. Participants who are engaged in some way.
  4. Activists who “feel strongly one way or another about their leaders and organizations” and act accordingly.
  5. Diehards ready to stick to their cause, individual, and idea or both.

There is a twofold purpose to this typology:

  1. Theoretically, it provides a map to categorize followers, and
  2. Practically, it assists those in leadership occurrences to figure out who is doing what and why.

Followership “is the response of those in subordinate positions (followers) to those in superior ones (leaders ). Followership implies a relationship (rank), between subordinates and superiors, and a response (behavior) of the former to the latter.” Through their various roles followers set the parameters for leader choices. What’s more, the growing boldness of followers results in the exchange of roles between leaders and followers. And here is a major source of confusion in this analysis. One the one hand, leader and follower are positioned according to rank, presumably formal rank. On the other hand, each are roles which can be exchanged. Associating the leader role with rank leads to be great mistake in many writings on leaders where we find leader=manager=CEO…But Kellerman is aware of this. Nevertheless she never seems to resolve it in her analysis.

The book is replete with examples from politics and from business in her analysis of the roles of followers. These examples include Nazi Germany and the Jews, Merck Pharmaceuticals and Vioxx, the Catholic Church and Voices of the Faithful confronting priest abuse of children, Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan, and whistle blowers in industry and government. Also, Kellerman weaves the literature on followers and followership through various parts of the book without it seeming like an academic treatise.

Interestingly, this discourse leads her to conclude: “…it’s long overdue for academics and practitioners to adopt a more expansive view of leadership—one that sees leaders and followers as inseparable, indivisible, and impossible to conceive the one without the other.” As with the case of the Burns’ sponsored Quest for a General Theory of Leadership and other work that purports to be integrative, however, there is still a long way to go before the mainstream of leadership theorists are going to find a path that will allow them to rid themselves of their theoretical scotomata. For example, Kellerman, on at least two occasions in this article suggests that context is not important. In other words what is important is just the moment, the incident of leadership that is being analyzed, without regard for culture, systems, processes, technology and a myriad of variables, which shape the context of any leadership event. Perhaps this is but the result of abbreviation in the article format. Certainly, in the book she does acknowledge the importance of context, yet has no theoretical framework that enables her to weave a clear picture.

Hers (and others) are important steps forward in stretching the romantic heroic notions of leading that dominate the field of leadership theory historically. But it just doesn’t go far enough. Culture does matter. It reflects the meaning making processes of both those leading and those following. And to understand the shifts in those roles over time, it must be accounted for. More clearly, systems matter. Kellerman makes much of technology and the roles of knowledge workers in relation to leadership and followership phenomena. Those are part of the context and must be included in a comprehensive understanding of the phenomena of leadership, whether in organizations or in societies.

The field of leadership studies is desperately in need of a metatheory. Until a better one comes along, integral theory, as it is evolving, is the strongest candidate for this role. The work of Kellerman and others is going to be instrumental in helping us see that such an approach holds considerable hope for the future of the practice, development and theory of leadership. And let’s be clear, once again. This doesn’t mean that Kellerman is wrong or that any of the alternatives she offers is wrong. Rather, it does mean that a major challenge of academic studies of leadership is to begin to transcend and include their models with others and show how they all bring an element of truth to our understanding of leadership.

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Leadership QuarterlyCynthia D. McCauley, Wilfred H. Drath, Charles J, Palus, Patricia M.G. O’Connor, Becca A. Baker. “The Use of Constructive-Developmental Theory to Advance the Understanding of Leadership,” The Leadership Quarterly, 17 (2006), pp. 634-653.

This is, perhaps, the most recent survey of the literature relating three perspectives on development to leadership. The perspectives are drawn from the work of Robert Kegan, Bill Torbert and Lawrence Kohlberg. Kegan’s use of the subject-object dynamic is explained, as is Torbert’s work based on Loevinger and Kohlberg’s work on moral development. The most recent literature references, largely academic, are publications from 2005, thus not reflecting more recent work. The work of Susann Cook-Greuter, Eliot Jaques and Otto Laske are referenced.

The fundamental task of the authors was to compare theory to research on the subject of development and leadership. Basically, they show the paucity of related research and the mixed results from work that has been done.

“…the notion that a leader’s order of development should impact his or her leadership effectiveness or managerial performance has generated the most research. We found mixed support for this proposition as well as a number of limitations in the research in general. To have a greater impact on the leadership field, constructive-developmental theory needs to generate more robust research, to link more clearly with on-going streams of leadership research, and to explore the contribution of aspects of the theory beyond individual order of development.”

The following paragraph defines their focus related to constructive-developmental theory built on the work of Piaget by Kegan and others to focus on meaning-making at various stages of adult development:

“We focus on constructive-developmental theory because it is the developmental stage theory most frequently used in the management and leadership literature. We define the constructive-developmental domain narrowly, focusing only on the stream of work related to the group of theorists identified by Kegan (1980) when he first suggested the term. This group most directly built on Piaget’s work, extending the work into adulthood and beyond its cognitive focus. There are several developmental stage theories that have similarities to constructive-developmental theory (e.g., Beck & Cowan, 1996; Hall, 1995; Jaques, 1996) yet are not part of the neo-Piagetian paradigm. It is beyond the scope of this review to examine all developmental stage theories. For the interested reader, Commons & Richards (2003) and Wilber (2000a) have summarized and worked to integrate a wide variety of these stage theories.”

They helpfully offer basic propositions from constructive-developmental theory drawn from the work of Susann Cook-Greuter:

  1. People actively construct ways of understanding and making sense of themselves and the world (as opposed to “taking in” an objective world).
  2. There are identifiable patterns of meaning making that people share in common with one another; these are variously referred to as stages, orders of consciousness, ways of knowing, levels of development, organizing principles, or (in this article) orders of development.
  3. Orders of development unfold in a specific invariant sequence, with each successive order transcending and including the previous order.
  4. In general, people do not regress; once an order of development has been constructed, the previous order looses its organizing function, but remains as a perspective that can now be reflected upon.
  5. Because subsequent orders include all earlier orders as special cases, later orders are more complex (they support more comprehensive understanding) than earlier orders; later orders are not better in any absolute sense.
  6. Developmental movement from one order to the next is driven by limitations in the current way of constructing meaning; this can happen when a person faces increased complexity in the environment that requires a more complex way of understanding themselves and the world.
  7. People’s order of development influences what they notice or can become aware of, and therefore, what they can describe, reflect on, and change (Cook-Greuter, 2004).

In their review of the leadership literature related to constructive-developmental theory they site studies that support or fail to find a relationship between developmental level and transactional vs. transformational leaders, corresponding to what I would call managing vs. leading. Other studies show a relationship between level of development and performance based on 360-degree feedback. Again, the results are mixed. Other studies look at the relationship between developmental levels and “leaders” at different levels of the organization. Additional studies show a relationship between level of development and performance of management tasks. Also, they site work primarily by Rooke and Torbert on the effectiveness of advanced level performers and leading change. Further studies examine moral development and leadership. The limited number of studies makes it difficult to draw conclusions and the need for further research is indicated. The remainder of this article summarizes their findings and identifies potentially fruitful avenues of further research.

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Menkes Executive Intelligence

Justin Menkes, Executive Intelligence, New York: Collins, 2006.

In the world of Integral Leadership there has been a great deal of attention paid to the use of assessments in determining stage of development. The names are familiar: Kegan, Loevinger, Cook-Greuter, Torbert, Wade and so on. Here is a discussion of development without awareness of stages or other integral perspectives. Rather it is an exploration of factors that lead to executive success from a modernist perspective.

Menkes makes his case for the importance of intelligence with its roots in critical thinking as an important factor in executive performance. He defines executive intelligence as “a distinct set of aptitudes that an individual must be able to demonstrate in three central contexts of work: the accomplishment of tasks, working with and through other people, and judging oneself and adapting one’s behavior accordingly.” As is the case in most books on business, there is no distinction between the terms executive, leader, and manager, although in Menkes’ case there is recognition of the importance of promoting executive intelligence throughout an organization. Nevertheless, his focus is ultimately on how one selects executives.

The most successful tool to date, one used by executive recruiters, is the Past Behavior Interview, a series of questions that focus primarily on the past performance of the individual on tasks related to their roles. These include social skills, job knowledge and experience. This results in a 25% predictor of job success.

Menkes points out that intelligence testing can add another 25%, since there is only a 3-4% overlap between the results of the PBI and intelligence testing. There is a similar relationship between knowledge (the focus of the PBI) and intelligence. Intelligence involves the ability of an individual to use information or knowledge. Thus, with a combination of the PBI and intelligence tests made up of scenario analysis conducted by trained interviewers, there is a 50-50 chance of selecting someone who will perform very well in an executive role.

He states,

  • The cognitive abilities that comprise Executive Intelligence can be learned, practiced, and improved.
  • Research has proven that thinking skills can be dramatically increased through specialized instruction that provides students with tailored guidance and feedback along each step of their decision-making process.
  • Learning how to think more skillfully requires time, determination, and effort because it goes against habits that have been established and reinforced by years of schooling.
  • Executive Intelligence is best taught using a Socratic method not unlike that used in law schools. It calls for a small-group environment and a trained facilitator.
  • The payoff from improving an individual’s thinking skills can have a profound, positive effect on his or her coworkers and the organization as a whole.

Leaders must support systems that continuously challenge their thinking. With the chaotic conditions and “white water” challenges of today’s organizations, resting upon their laurels from the past simply is insufficient. They must continually grow their Executive Intelligence.

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leadership excellenceLeadership Excellence, February 2008

In reading the newest issue of Leadership Excellence, Warren Bennis’ periodical that is available free online to International Leadership Association members, I find so much to appreciate and to wonder about. I have written in these pages before about Chris Argyris’s remarkable book, Flawed Advice and the Leadership Trap. In face, you can read an article that I wrote about this in Leadership Review:

In Leadership Excellence we find short, pithy articles that are geared to the busy individual who hasn’t time to read in depth. Major thinkers about leadership appear in these pages. In the current, February 2008, issue we find Peter Senge, Warren Bennis, Noel Tichy, Margaret Wheatley, Otto Scharmer, Joseph Jaworski and Betty Sue Flowers. There are articles by Marshall Goldsmith and Larry Bossidy, not to mention a host of not-so-well-knowns.

What is striking about many of these articles is that they provide a list of “shoulds” that constitute the flawed advice that Argyris criticized so harshly. For example, Ken Shelton writes of authentic leaders and lists 10 things authentic leaders do:

  1. They speak their truth.
  2. They lead from the heart.
  3. They have rich moral fiber.
  4. They are courageous.
  5. They build teams and create communities.
  6. They deepen themselves.
  7. They are dreamers.
  8. They care for themselves.
  9. They commit to excellence, rather than perfection.
  10. They leave a legacy.

Now think about this list for a moment. It tells you what you might look for in seeking out an authentic leader…and the case IS made for the high performance of authentic leaders. But what are we to do with such a list in developing and practicing authentic or any other kind of leadership? This list tells us nothing about how to develop the qualities nor does it tell us anything about what contexts are most inviting for those undertaking leading to use these qualities and how.

Larry Bossidy tells us what leaders expect of us, presumably their followers or collaborators.

  1. Get involved.
  2. Generate ideas.
  3. Collaborate.
  4. Confront reality.
  5. Have the courage to risk failure.
  6. Develop your leadership capability.
  7. Show some initiative.

As well-intentioned as such a list may be it offers very little but the most abstract notion of the qualities of a leader-collaborator relationship. When? Where? How? How much?

And from what perspective?

I separate out this last question because it seems to me that it is long overdue for these leaders of leaders, these stars of the popular, applied field of leadership literature to get off the pulpit, to share what they learn, but to do so from a more developmental perspective that recognizes not only complexity in individual development, but that of context.

Margaret Wheatley’s discussion of self-organized networks is a perspective shifting educational piece. Here she uses the models of the new sciences to explain how networks, including “terrorist” networks can threaten global society. Nevertheless, we still end up with a list of the capabilities of leaders: vision, motivating others, achieving results, innovation and implementation of change. Well, what this provides is a lens that is no more actionable than those sited previously. She continues that terrorist groups are “well-led by their passion, rage and conviction., leading her to the conclusion that the best way to “ diffuse the energy of these networks is not to kill their leaders, but to defuse the sources of their anger, eliminating the cause of their rage and stop inciting them further.” Now we are talking about strategy. A developmental more integral perspective would be useful here, too, in more carefully defining such strategy in relation to the nature of the stratified cultures to be engaged with.

There are numerous additional articles in this issue, many of them offering lists of “shoulds,” not bad in themselves, but just not actionable. Marshall Goldsmith and Marilyn McLeod recommend being thought leaders by

  1. Do what you love.
  2. Pick something unique and learn all you can about that one topic.
  3. Pay the price (speaking, writing, networking, etc.).

And there is advice for leaders in their relationships with followers from Thomas Herrington and Patrick Malone:

  1. Give 100 percent attention.
  2. Respond.
  3. Prove understanding.
  4. Prove respect.

And Michael Leimbach offers advice on steps to take in developing the form and essence of leadership:

  1. Define your framework for essence (values, principles, beliefs).
  2. Know how others perceive your character (essence) and skill (form).
  3. Reflect on your decisions and how your values and beliefs are exhibited through your actions.
  4. Create a culture of leadership form and essence.
  5. Supply tools, process, and supports for living form and essence.
  6. Add stretch experiences to develop leadership form and essence.

Ron Morrison tells us that a leader’s greatest gift is giving encouragement and tells us how: “First state your disposition. Second, reveal your personal or professional growth as a result of the relationship. Third, express your thanks!” This advice is not actionable for some individuals and is for others. Such a response will elicit different reactions from individuals, depending on their worldviews and the context in which this happens. Are we to assume that this is the deciding factor in effective leadership? I think not.

I encourage you to become familiar with this publication. It represents what the popular business literature is saying about leadership. There are gems in this material. Certainly many of the authors are people we hold in deep respect. However, I wonder what it is going to take to get them to more overtly adopt an integral and developmental approach to their advice.