The 5 Dimensions of Leadership

A few days ago I shared with you a new perspective of leadership based on the book Co-Active Leadership by Karen and Henry Kimsey-House.

Leaders are those who are responsible for their world.

Today I wanted to briefly discuss the 5 dimensions of the Co-Active Leadership model.

I. The Leader Within
I think of it as self-leadership. It is the concept that I need to be responsible for the world within me. My actions must be aligned with my values and beliefs.

II. The Leader in Front
To me, this is the classic leadership model. It’s about having the responsibility to paint the picture of a better future and explain to team members how each of them play a role in it. This type of leader is showing the way.

III. The Leader Behind
I think of this as a proactive follower. It is the leader that takes the time to think about will be needed along the way and chooses to support the leader in front in anything possible. In a way, this is a version of servant leadership.

IV. The Leader Beside
I consider this one an example of a high performance team. It’s a partnership between individuals that are fully committed to the success of the team. They find ways to complement each other and help in any way they can to achieve the common objective.

V. The Leader In The Field
This is probably the most challenging one because it requires stepping into the unknown. This is the visionary leader that uses more gut feeling than planning and evidence. It’s the leader that doesn’t know how but knows why it is the right answer.

Which one are you?

That’s a trick question.

The truth is that throughout the journey of being responsible for what happens around us, we go find ourselves utilizing all five dimensions depending on the situation.

The challenge for us is: Are we willing to pay the price for being responsible for our world?

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Be sure to check out “Co-Active Leadership” if you are looking for a different way of thinking about leadership.


What is your experience with this concept?

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