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How to Lead From Full-Spectrum Values

By Audrey Seymour

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Do you feel inspired to contribute as a leader in these complex times? Leadership doesn't have to mean a formal role or title; it could be as simple as speaking the unvarnished truth or launching a needed project. 

To act as a leader means to inspire others in a way that brings out their best, so that greater things can be achieved than anyone could do alone. Yet, making a significant and lasting impact in today's society requires more than one style of leadership.

Back in my corporate days "situational leadership" was the standard with approaches ranging from very directive to a supportive coaching style. In our professional and personal lives, collaboration is much more effective when we understand how to approach people who have different styles and strengths than our own.  

But modern times require attention to the triple bottom line: people, planet and profits. 

Inspired by this broader vision of business, I was certified in Richard Barrett's 7-level approach to full spectrum leadership.  He's created a brilliant way to address these objectives through addressing the values that drive our actions in the world.  

I'd like to share a bit about his model, which builds on Maslow's "Hierarchy of Needs," because it's something that you can immediately put into action.  

Barrett Values Diagram  

As you look at the chart above, you'll recognize that most organizations excel at some of these levels and ignore others. For example, you may belong to a professional organization that promotes referrals but ignores the professional development of its members. Corporations are expected to focus on shareholder profit, often to the detriment of the environment. At the other end of the spectrum are many nonprofits that struggle to stay alive.

It is rare for an organization to be skillful in all these areas. As a leader or actively engaged member, you have the opportunity to bring full-spectrum values to your group in order to increase its impact on members and the community at large.

Think about an organization or team you are part of, and reflect on the following questions:

  1. Survival: As an explicit or implicit leader, are you ensuring that your group is it in a sustainable configuration with financial stability?  
  2. Relationship: Are you helping to foster open communication and positive regard between members, or is there a culture of control and blame?  
  3. Self-esteem: Does everyone take pride in work well done and use industry best practices?
  4. Transformation: Is continuous learning and improvement a value in your team or organization?  
  5. Internal Cohesion: Are you facilitating shared values and vision?   
  6. Making a Difference: What kind of impact is your team or organization having in the community?  
  7. Service: Does your group give attention to social responsibility and the impact on future generations?  

Collaborating increases your impact in the world, and the act of bringing awareness to these 7 levels will increase the impact of your group in fulfilling its mission. 

What gaps do you see in the list above? What actions can you commit to take in the next week to bring what you value out in a bigger way?

© 2011 Audrey Seymour. All rights reserved.