Leading Comments

Russ Volckmann

We are in the fifth year of publication of the Integral Leadership Review. It is increasingly taking the form that I hoped, although I am sure there is still much that can be done to make this a useful document that attracts a wider audience, particularly in the fields of consulting, training and coaching, as well as among business and other organizational leaders who have a passion for leadership.

I am grateful to the 983 subscribers to Integral Leadership Review. Your support means that we can move closer to a way of viewing and being in the world that is integrative, generative and supportive of our evolving integrity – learning to align our theory and our action, our values and assumptions with achieving what is important to us. Also, I am grateful to the many kindnesses, suggestions and offers of support we have received.

The mission of this e-publication is to be a practical guide to the application of an integral perspective to the challenges of leadership in business and life and to the effective relationship between executive/business coaches and their clients. My vision includes that this will be a place where others, as well as myself, can continue to develop and share ideas about Integral Leadership and integral coaching.

> Russ Volckmann


David Rooke and William R. Torbert, “Seven Transformations of Leadership,” Harvard Business Review, April 2005, pp. 67-76.

Probably what is most important about this article is that it is a breakthrough into the “popular” business press for a developmental perspective related to leadership. Readers of Rooke and Torbert’s earlier works, e.g., Action Inquiry or Personal and Organisational Transformations Through Action Inquiry, are not likely to find much new material here. However, it is well worth the read to see how their ideas are communicated to a business audience.

Their focus is on action logic of individuals related to leadership. There is good reason for this because, as the authors state, “…we’ve found that leaders who do undertake a voyage of personal understanding and development can transform not only their own capabilities but also those of their companies.” The authors ut forward their seven category set of ways of leading: opportunist, diplomat, expert, individualist, strategist and alchemist. The first three account for 55% of the “leaders” in their surveys. Achievers are 30%, Individualists 10%, Strategist 4 % and Alchemist 1%.

Opportunists generate distrust and tend not to remain managers for long. They seek to win any way they can. However, they can contribute importantly in emergencies and in sales. Diplomats are loyal and tend to avoid conflict.  They provide supportive glue in bringing people together. Experts are rational and efficient, but find collaboration challenging. They are best in the role of individual contributor. Achievers challenge and support others in pursuit of objectives. They have difficulty thinking outside the box. Generally, they are effective action and goal-oriented managers. Individualists see their action logics and those of others more objectively. The tensions that are a result foster creativity. They are effective in venture and consultation roles. Strategists lead change through attention to personal relationships, organizational relations, and national and international developments. Through mutual inquiry, vigilance and vulnerability they are transformational leaders. Finally those rare individuals with Alchemist action logics are in continuous processes of discovery and renewal and have the capacity to think in terms of metasystems. They have high integrity and are charismatic. They can lead society-wide transformations.

In relation to the nature/nurture question, Rooke and Torbert point out that they have observed leaders who have transformed from one action logic to another. Personal changes and external events support such transformation. Change strategies include hanges in work practices, structured development interventions, formal education and training. For further development the use of coaching and other interventions to foster self-awareness, learning about development through collaborative inquiry and peer-to-peer development is encouraged. The authors state that the higher the level of development of action logic, the more effective leaders and teams become.

A Request
If you are finding the Integral Leadership Review to be bringing useful, fresh perspectives to the subject of leadership, please think of the leaders in business and life that might be able to benefit from subscribing to this epublication. Please send them a copy or a link to the web site, so that they may explore it. In this time of intense internet communication, we all need to manage our time and read those things which are most relevant for our work, our thinking and our values. It is my hope that many people will find the evolvingIntegral Leadership Review does just that. Your help is deeply appreciated.
Got any? E-mail Russ Volckmann
Thanks for taking the time to consider this e-publication in a world of data overload. For leaders, collaborators, consultants, academics and coaches alike; I welcome you to some ideas and a dialogue that may benefit us all. I hope you will contact me soon with your idea, reference or article. Suggestions on improvement are welcome.
Russ Volckmann, PhD, Coaching Leaders in Business and Life
Tel: 831.333-9200, FAX: 831.656-0110
This material is intended for informational and educational purposes only. Financial, Legal and Professional information is not Financial, Legal and Professional advice. You should see a Financial, Legal or Professional in the area in which you live if you need advice.
You are welcome to share the contents of this e-publication. Please provide source information,
Thank you.