leadershipWhen you think of leadership, what images spring to mind?

Perhaps it is the bold visionary standing alone at the helm of the organization brimming with charisma. Or perhaps it is more dictatorial, the boss barking out unquestionable orders subordinates as they scurry about. In either case, this form of leadership is one-dimensional, and in today’s fast paced environment, the need for creative problem solving far surpasses the capacity of the one-dimensional leader.

With consistent budgetary constrains and lack of inspiring leadership, many federal, state, and local employees find themselves feeling squeezed from all sides and unable to share their unique voice in the workplace.

The old transactional model of doing business for monetary reward only carries us so far. We are moving to a new relational paradigm, where how we interact with ourselves, others, and our environment is as important as what we produce.

From this comes a new multi-dimensional form of collaborative leadership that incorporates all aspects of who we are. In Co-Active Leadership, there are five key leadership styles, which we are continually moving in and out of throughout our life and our work.

The Five Key Leadership Styles

Leader Within. Leader Within is the foundation upon which all other leadership styles are built. What do you know about yourself? What are your values? Leader Within has clarity of vision and purpose, which expresses itself through speaking and acting on what you know to be true.

Leader in Front. Leader in Front holds the grand vision, inspires others, and builds collaboration among everyone in the community. Unlike traditional models, Leader in Front does not stand alone, nor does she have a need to have all the answers. By fostering leadership in others, the Leader in Front knows creativity flows from collaboration and empowers others to stretch and grow.

Leader Behind. In essence, Leader Behind embodies coaching as a competency to evoke the brilliance in others for the sake of their growth and learning. Leader Behind listens on all levels, including the space in between words, and connects individual pieces with the greater vision. This is where service is born, behind the scenes bringing the vision to life.

Leader Beside. Leaders Beside may be called to work in tandem with others, an authentic partnership where the inner-play of leading and following intermingles. In this space, engaging conversation, dynamic disagreement, and fluid spontaneity foster unexpected results.

Leader in the Field. Leader in the Field opens themselves to the unknown, trusting that within the space, intuition will emerge to guide and direct their actions. Leaders in the Field hold the balance of impeccability by knowing when and how to act in any given situation.

With these five key styles, we become more agile and resourceful, accessing the greater range of our humanity. Leadership is no longer defined by role or status. Instead, “leading” becomes a part of who we are. When we take responsibility for how we show up not only for others, but for ourselves as well, we become aware of the impact we are having and take ownership of it.

As government agencies utilize new trends in innovation and technology to improve overall customer service needs, so too do those in leadership positions need to find new ways to connect with their community culture at all levels.

Where do you notice these five styles emerging within your organizational culture and where is there opportunity to engage these principles further?

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