Feature Article: The Integral Model of Leadership: Leadership Development, Integral Leadership – Part 21

Feature Articles / January 2003

Leo Burke’s Integral Leadership program at the University of Notre Dame is built around some key integral concepts: quadrants (personal meaning, individual behavior, culture and shared values, and systems and processes), lines (cognitive, emotional, interpersonal, physical, moral and spiritual), and or levels of development. Generally, these are consistent with the approach being explored in this series of articles.

When we look at the list of courses offered in this program here is what we find:

Executive Integral Leadership Program Courses

This program emphasizes the interaction among multiple domains of development (e.g., cognitive, emotional, interpersonal, physical, moral, and spiritual).

Our program includes:
Leadership Assessment & Coaching. Identify your strengths and weaknesses. Accelerate your career development. Heighten your confidence to reach your goals.
Health & Wellness Coaching. Adopt strategies to reduce stress, improve nutrition, exercise more, sleep better, eliminate fatigue when crossing time zones, meet life’s demands, and more.
Leader As Innovator & Visionary. Increase your agility and resiliency as a leader of change. Discover how to anticipate and initiate change. Learn the best practices of notable leaders. Clarify your vision so that you lead with passion and inspire others. Formulate dynamic strategies that foster genuine change.
Leader As Negotiator & Decision Maker. Discover how top negotiators increase returns through robust due diligence and focused decision-making. Learn to drive solutions that exceed the expectations of all parties.
Leader as Collaborator. Explore means to develop appropriate partnerships outside your organization. Make yourself heard when expressing a minority opinion, encourage divergent viewpoints by spurring informational diversity, and motivate high-performance teamwork.
Leader as Master Communicator. Gain skills for more open dialogue, rapport and trust. Learn to listen even as you advocate, and understand your own and others’ motivations.
Leading and Managing with Emotional Intelligence. Develop and leverage your EQ (emotional intelligence), along with your IQ, for maximum, long-term success.
Leader as Integrator. Integrate and focus all your capabilities (cognitive, emotional, physical, interpersonal, moral and spiritual) to effectively lead in every aspect of your life–work, home, personal, professional and community.

[From a document provided by Leo Burke; for more information on this program go tohttp://www.nd.edu/~execprog/programs/eilp/]

In their brochures and on their website you can see how the course contents include attention to the integral.

These titles may suggest several things, for example, attention to the lines of development. They also suggest something else: executive leaders have different roles. Embedded in these titles are the following roles:

  • Leader
  • Innovator
  • Visionary
  • Negotiator
  • Decision Maker
  • Collaborator
  • Communicator
  • Manager
  • Integrator

There is nothing mystical or magical about this list. It would raise no eyebrows among executives. It is useful for drawing attention to categories of thinking and being that most of us can recognize and appreciate. But what is of interest to me is that it is, indeed, a list of roles. I’ll tell you why in a moment.

The material I have seen on the Notre Dame program does not spell out the levels. I will guess that these levels are reflected in the work of Jenny Wade and Spiral Dynamics. They may also be drawn from the work of Kegan, Torbert and others.

These articles have been suggesting an approach to levels that is in harmony with the notion of roles and developmental levels. Think about the genesis and evolution of a business organization. This will be different for many, but I think we can develop an initial model. Allowing a moment of linearity, it would look something like this:

One person has an idea about a product, service or some objective. S/he shares that idea with other persons who think it is a good idea (profitable, fun, meaningful, etc.) They decide to put together an organization or company to work on this idea, to develop it, to interest others in it and to accomplish it. Decisions are made about who will participate, what they will do, what resources they will need. Things proceed pretty linearly. As more people get involved, as the context changes (as it always does), the demand for change and response requires more creativity, innovation, new ideas. Things are getting more complex and people need to use teamwork to deal with change and complexity creatively. All of this has happened before any product is out the door or any service delivered. It will continue to happen beyond that. As the business and organization develops interfaces with stakeholders (customers, employees, suppliers, investors, regulators, etc.) become more complex. To keep our young enterprise vital, these stakeholders need to be engaged continuously. And the business thrives.

While this is somewhat simplistic, it does suggest a strategy around levels that I hope meets the criteria set out for a holarchy. And this is where the notion of roles is helpful.

In this model, the individual acts independently as a part of an amorphous community. The community is complex, it has roles, it has a culture, structures, systems, processes, etc. When our individual begins to connect with others in building a business, the level of complexity rises. A way of representing that for the individual is to think of roles of growing complexity. These roles unfold in the following manner:

  • Being a member of a group
  • A contributor to an organization
  • A player on a team
  • An entrepreneur (or intrapreneur–connected with stakeholders) in an enterprise.

Thus we have a beginning taxonomy of leadership roles in business.

Comparing the roles identified in the Notre Dame program might results in something like this:

  • Member (Visionary)
  • Contributor (Manager, Communicator, Negotiator, Decision Maker)
  • Player (Collaborator, Innovator)
  • Entrepreneur (Integrator)

Leadership roles are upper right quadrant variables. They are about behavior as we have been talking about them so far. However, we can also think about Leadership roles in at least two other ways. First as belief systems. Second as expectations of others. The former engages the lines of development in the upper right quadrant. The latter engages the lower left quadrant of culture.

In each of these roles, development can proceed (and recede) along several lines. The Notre Dame Program uses this list, based on the work of Wilber.

  • Cognitive
  • Emotional
  • Physical
  • Interpersonal
  • Moral
  • Spiritual

As a member of a group, a leader has developmental challenges in each of these lines. The same is true for each of the roles. Are the developmental challenges the same or different along these lines for each role? I don’t know, yet. I hope someone might explore this and share any ideas.

I suppose a list of challenges for each role could be developed, but such a list would no doubt be contextual. There may be archetypal developmental challenges for each role. Our list is already archetypal. And archetypes are manifested individually in different ways and at different times. Therefore, we might treat this approach, as we do the holarchy, generally, as the map, but not the territory.

The Leadership Development challenge is twofold. First, it is to provide the individual with a map to the developmental territory that s/he can use to generate awareness and competence. Through programs such as that provided at Notre Dame or through coaching, leaders can explore these lines and discover what is important to them. But it is not all about the individual.

It is also about the organization, the business. What are the cultural and systemic requirements of organizations to support individual and collective development along these six lines? For developing the individual without also developing the organization would most likely lead to disconnect. For this reason the strategy for leadership development that seems to make a whole lot of sense is to treat the executive leadership of a business or organization as the collective for leadership. This is not where the process ends, but where it starts. Each collective of executive leaders will need to explore how deeply into their organization leadership development is essential.

It is difficult to engage executive leaders collectively. It is virtually impossible to get this executive leadership collective to take time away from work, particularly together. Consequently any serious developmental process needs to be integrated in the ways the executive leadership collective does their work. Development individually can be accomplished through coaching within the context of the strategic directions for the business.

A part of this process will involve individual development in all of the lines within the context of their roles. I am sure we will learn a lot from people like Leo Burke through his experience at Notre Dame. One question that all such leadership programs must deal with is the phenomena of individuals dropping much of what they have learned through training programs when they re-enter an organizational environment that does not support implementation of the learning. I believe that this can best be dealt with by finding a way to work with leadership development for individuals and collectives within the context of work. I suspect – and I can’t prove it – that this can be accomplished through a process based on individual and collective executive leadership coaching.

> Russ Volckmann