This blog seven part blog series talks about Leadership 2050 and the leadership mindset necessary for success in the future. We walk through what the future of leadership will look like then walk you through the story of Jill as she moves through the developmental perspectives. Growth through the perspectives is a linear process in that we progress through each step without skipping stages.
In the post last week we met Jill as a Diplomat Developmental Perspective. This week we will see Jill move to the Expert Perspective. This is the second of the five perspectives that we see most often in professional settings. Our intent is to illustrate how a leader progresses through the developmental perspectives and how they “fit” in jobs aligned with their developmental perspective.
Jill started moving into the Expert stage as she finished high school and entered college at a state school in a neighboring city. She moved into a dorm with some friends from high school, although her roommate was someone she never met. Late night conversations with this roommate, an international student with a very different background from Jill’s, pushed her to consider new ideas. While her old friends still held considerable influence, Jill became more aware of her individuality apart from them.
Jill learned intellectually and emotionally through her college experiences. She began seeing the many options before her as she looked at different majors. Her conversations with her roommate become more meaningful as she explored her new identity. She thought more about her role in the world and what traits would help differentiate her from others.
As Jill evaluated her skills, she cemented her belief that she was detail oriented and excellent at math. She fell in love with accounting with its many defined rules and procedures. She quickly became a standout in the department as she studied excessively and roses to the top of the class.
Jill started tutoring in accounting to make a little extra money. She became well known for her expertise in the field as well as her obsessive questioning of those working with her. She was often found asking why someone took a particular action and defending her own answer. Her professors quickly learned that any deduction on one of her papers would result in an email interrogation and explanation about how Jill’s response was correct, if not superior to the professor’s.
As she finished up her college experience, Jill’s competence attracted the attention of recruiters and she was offered several positions. Jill created a pros and cons matrix to evaluate the opportunities, but eventually turned to her parents for help in making her decision. She took their advice and accepted the job at the Big 4 accounting office in the state capital just a couple hours away from home.
Jill settled into her first professional job but did not make friends as easily as she did before. Her first manager seemed to be irritated by Jill’s incessant questioning and her initial annual review was not very good. Indeed, her first review was terrifying to Jill as she was told by those she respected that while her work was fine, she was too intimidating and alienating to those around her to be particularly effective. Her pleasant nature had been overtaken by her perfectionism and it was negatively impacting her life.
In response to the feedback, Jill started to pull back a bit in meetings and watch how other people interacted. She continued to receive good marks on her work and her reduced questioning appeared to be well-received. As she evaluated what this meant, she started to transition to the next stage.
According to an HBR article, Seven Transformations of Leadership by Torbert and Rooke, 38% of leaders test at the Diplomat level. Characteristics of the diplomat include:
- Demonstrates basic abstract thinking.
- Concerned with expressing a sense of individuality in sharp contrast to others
- Concerned with measuring up to the “right” standards.
- Can often appear to be a perfectionist.
- Makes constant comparisons with others to gauge identity.
- Can often be critical and blame-oriented.
- Adept at developing multiple new solutions to problems but not able to determine the best fit solution.
- Can begin envisioning short-term time horizons: three months to one year.
Next week we will follow Jill as she moves from Expert Developmental Perspective to Achiever.
To become a more innovative leader, please consider our online leader development program. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, using the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations, and adding coaching to our online innovative leadership program. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills.
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photo credit: www.flickr.com Rapheal Marquez