Add more dimensions to your leadership style

Here is some great food for thought to become a stronger leader. My clients love it because it makes instant sense to them.

Until recently, if you asked me “wanna hear about a new leadership model”? you’d hear me say “like a hole in the head, thank you”.  Even just the words “leadership model” triggered instant yawns and visions of boring diagrams in my B-school text books.

That DRASTICALLY changed when I spent 3 days at CTI’s Global Co-Active Summit. They launched the Co-Active Dimensional Leadership model and it’s a great, practical way of looking at being a more multi-dimensional leader. 

So, here, in a nutshell, is the Co-ACTIVE DIMENSIONAL LEADERSHIP MODEL.

There are 5 dimensions to being a fluid, effective leader.

1. LEAD IN FRONT – This is the typical way we think of leading and leaders. It’s the visible, out front kind of leader, the country presidents, the Zuckerbergs and Bill Gates of our worlds. So, naturally when we lead, that’s what we typically mimic or aspire to. From my own experience I can attest, that this can, at times, feel heavy – like all the weight is on your shoulders.

When I was thrown into my first leadership position without training of any sort, I often wondered “Why aren’t they stepping up? Why do I have to do all the work”? I didn’t know there were other dimensions. I just copied the behavior of my bosses – which all had this “follow me”, Leader In Front style.

2. LEAD BESIDE – This is where you buddy up with someone and decide to co-lead, share in the responsibility and rewards. The power here is that it allows both of you to take more risk. “Hey”, you say to the other, “try this, I will have your back”. And vice versa. If you’re a parent, you know what that’s like. Each of you brings your own qualities to the table, and together you’re more powerful.

3. LEAD from BEHIND – Do you love to mentor others? This dimension is where you take it to another level. You consciously help someone shine, and support them to look great and succeed up-front. Great managers are fantastic at this. They make their staff shine. The staff feels supported, believed in, seen and recognized. It brings out their excellence.

4. LEAD from WITHIN – As you fluidly shift from one leadership dimension to the next, your gut instincts and intuition are always with you. Make a point to more frequently connect with your inner wisdom and access your sub-conscious. Become better at paying attention to the little “hmm, something feels a little off here”, master the art of pausing and conscious gut-checks. When you lead from that place you’ll feel and project more clarity and certainty. 

5. LEAD from FIELD – when your gut screams “something isn’t working” or “we’re missing something, but I don’t know what”, it’s time to take a step back and shift into the FIELD or BIG PICTURE dimension. Here is how:

Step 1: Pause.

Step 2: Ask yourself “what is really going on here”?

Step 3: Huddle with your team and ask each of them to contribute their perspectives to looking at the big picture. Listen deeply. You’ll be surprised by what you can learn from them.

A multi-dimensional leader is someone who is conscious of these dimensions and is able to skillfully and fluidly move between them. It brings more awareness of the big picture and is more empowering for you and your team.

Try it! And let me know how it goes.


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