Tribal Leadership (Part 4)

July 9, 2013

Tribal Leadership:  Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization by David Logan, John King, and Halee Fischer-Wright.

To recap (full blog post links are below):

Stage 1 of the Tribe:  “Life Sucks” (Energy Leadership Level 1:  “I Lose”)

Stage 2 of the Tribe:  “My Life Sucks” (Energy Leadership Level 2:  “You Lose”)

Stage 3 of the Tribe:  “I am great (and you are not)” (Energy Leadership Level 3:  “I win and I hope you win too”)

The first two stages/levels are identified by their catabolic (destructive) energy. At the beginning of Stage/Level 3, we find a moderate transition from catabolic energy to anabolic (productive) energy. The energy is better, to be sure. Great performance and significant individual achievement can, and does, occur at Stage/Level 3. What suffers is the performance of the team. And if organizations make the mistake of promoting Stage 3 high performers to senior leadership roles, it’s hard to rise above Stage/Level 3. These individuals cannot see beyond their own greatness and often criticize the poor performance of lesser individuals–remember, they are great and you are not. As a leader, you might be pleased with some aspects of Stage/Level 3 performance, but you can and should shoot higher.

Let’s look at the language of Tribal Leadership Stage 4 (“We win”) as well as Energy Leadership Level 4 (“You win”) and Level 5 (“We both win or we don’t engage in this process”). Here we have nearly all anabolic energy, and the focus shifts from individual performance to that of the team. The Energy Leadership Think-Feel-Act models are: Level 4 (Concern-Compassion-Service) and Level 5 (Reconciliation-Peace-Acceptance). Notice how the focus of these word and actions are on working with and assisting others. Everyone wins, leaders included. The authors of Tribal Leadership tell us that less than 20% of teams or organizations operate at Stage 4, so it’s rarefied air, but it’s what leaders should strive for.

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Tribal Leadership (Part 1)

Tribal Leadership (Part 2)

Tribal Leadership (Part 3)

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