Home Organizational Psychology Leadership Organizational Consultation XXX: Leadership and the Appreciative Perspective

Organizational Consultation XXX: Leadership and the Appreciative Perspective

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We have now completed our journey around the Appreciative Triangle. We have ventured into the domains of information, intentions and ideas, and have delved into three appreciative strategies that relate to each of these domains: assessment (information), chartering (intentions) and empowerment (ideas). We have explored three strategies along the way that bridge these three domains: benchmarking (information and intentions), development (intentions and ideas) and feedback (ideas and information).

One key ingredient is missing. It is leadership. The time has come in this final set of essays to directly address the issue of appreciative leadership. Specifically, the time has come to focus on an important proposition: if a leader is appreciative in her own engagement with other members of the organization, then the task of implementing appreciative strategies is much less formidable.

In examining this proposition, I turn first to an obvious question. How should a leader engage the six appreciative strategies that are described in this series of essays? I then turn to subtler issues regarding both traditional and newly emerging models of leadership that are themselves inherently appreciative. I specifically examine contextual models of leader and introduce a model of leadership that derives from traditional metaphors: lover, partner, and servant.

I then shift to a model of leadership that is based on decidedly nontraditional metaphors: conductor, jerk, and rogue. Finally, I turn to a conception of leadership that integrates the old and new, while bringing distinct clarity to the notion of appreciative leadership. At various points throughout this essay, I rely heavily on the appreciative wisdom offered by the remarkable 20th Century philosopher and scientist, Teilhard de Chardin. I turn to him specifically in presenting the final, integrating model of leadership.

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