Professional, tailored leadership services
Professional, tailored leadership services

Why 'Leadership2'?

Leadership2 is a name chosen to beg a question, to make the hearer curious - particularly about what the '2' might signify.


Richard Rohr, a Franciscan priest, came up with some thinking about life being divided into two 'halves'  and eventually summarised this in a book: Falling Upward. His core premise is that during the first half of life we develop a set of values and guiding principles that help to bring shape and clarity to life so that we can understand how things fit together, what our place in the world is, what moral boundaries we should stay within etc. This 'container' that we build is very helpful in our early years as we establish ourselves but further on life's journey can begin to be constricting.  Things happen which don't fit within our box. The identity we've built or the values we hold get questioned; often through difficult circumstances and challenges. People tend to react in one of two ways; they either tune out the bits that don't fit and keep doing the first half of life harder or they begin to question their 'box' and allow the messy process of painting outside the lines. Rohr argues that there should be a natural maturing process where we begin to question the certainties and clear lines that defined our early thinking. We become people who are open to learn, have fewer prejudices, are more interested in relationships than achievements.


Applying Rohr's thinking about two halves of life to leadership begs the question about different styles of leadership in the two halves of life.


Leadership1 therefore is the type of leadership we are most used to and tends to be the default pattern for much of the organsitional and political leadership we witness today. It is characterised by being:

  • reactive
  • fast paced, energetic, becoming frantic in a crisis
  • concerned more with task than process - achievement oriented
  • focused on narrow performance measures as indicators of success
  • breaking things down into simple categories that allow the world to be navigated more quickly


By contrast, Leadership2 tends to be associated with a more mature view and is characterised by being:

  • reflective, taking time to pause, to notice, to think deeply
  • composed, deliberate
  • concerend about relationships, atmosphere and chemistry as the influences of wellbeing and healthy performance
  • comfortable with mess and complexity when they nurture creativity

Both modes of leadership have their place - it is not that one is good and the other bad.  Most leaders will display elements of each. However, as the pace and intensity of change accelerate, organisations have a tendency to slip into a reactive, pace-setting 'Leadership1' style. Periodically this needs to be balanced with a composed, reflective dose of 'Leadership2' to keep people and organisations healthy.


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