What is Your Leader Development Communication Style?

I developed this Leader Development Communication Archetype Model five years ago while preparing a Succession Planning presentation for a National Human Resources Conference. I so happened to come across the presentation on my computer, realizing that Leader Development and Succession Planning are still as much challenges for most organizations as it was five years ago.
In the model, I share four archetypes of Leader Development Styles: Steel, Wood, Earth, Water and Fire.

  • 1. The STEEL leader says, “My job is secure.” If you are a STEEL leader, nothing gets through you. You hoard all of the information and vehicles to get anything done. You pull the ultimate trigger on everything.
  • 2. The WOOD leader says, “You only need to know but so much...” If you are a WOOD leader, things and information permeate rarely… and only when pulled and prodded out from your direct reports. You are a tough gatekeeper.
  • 3. The EARTH leader says, “I’ll give it to you, but only if you absolutely need it to finish this project at hand…” As an EARTH leader, things permeate... You give, but only as absolutely needed to get the currently assigned task completed.
  • 4. The WATER leader says, “What would you like to know?” If you are a WATER leader, knowledge flows generously, but without intention and strategy. There is no planning involved. Guidance given to the direct report lacks any of the wisdom or discretion of the manager.
  • 5. If you are a FIRE leader, you lead and share information with intention and understanding of where your direct report are and can go.
  • a. You are a mentor.
  • b. You professionally develop your staff strategically.
  • c. You pour out of yourself to others around you- above, below and laterally.
  • d. You encourage the same behavior for your staff.
  • .
  • Exponential growth is recognized among your team throughout the entire organization.
  • Learning is contagious.
  • You create stars who are tomorrow’s leaders of your organization.