Turning Point

Transforming problems into opportunities.

4 Steps to Develop Authentic Leadership

Explore. Encounter. Empathize. Engage.

We live in a high-speed, complex and paradoxical world. High performance leadership requires an approach that meets today’s global challenges.

Today its less about finding solutions and more about creating new patterns. It’s less about redistribution of skills and more about fostering creative processes. It’s less about competition and more about collaboration. To meet the challenges of this millenia, our present demands a new kind of leadership.

The definition of leadership as the capacity to influence is still a valid definition. But the “how” of leadership needs to be reengineered.

Leadership as Conversation

The intertwinement of leadership with conversation at first can seem counterintuitive. In fact, leadership has been often interpreted with the charismatic capacity to utter commands that are implemented by followers. The notion of conversation suggests a different attitude and reflects the emerging reality of organizations, which have less and less a hierarchical organizations and more and more a network-like configuration. 

In fact, conversation presupposes an informal quality. It refers to an exchange of ideas, it suggests a permanent feedback, and points to a system of reciprocity.

The 4E Leadership

Referring to this qualities, in seminars and trainings I present the “4E Leadership™.”

The first 'E" stays for Explore. To acquire self-awareness is essential to acquire the capacity for deep listening, which is a fundamental component of great and productive conversations. To be aware of the laws and believes that govern our life, of the framworks that give meaning to our experience, of the shadows that prevent us to express our full potential, is a necessary first step to generate and to nourish conversations with confidence.

The second “E” stays for Encounter. There is no conversation without a previous encounter. An encounter requires the capacity to leave one’s own comfort zone and to be moved by curiosity. It demands to level yourself with the other. There is no authentic encounter until you are looking down to the other.

The third “E” stays for Empathize. To empathize is a fundamental emotional intelligence skill. There is no understanding and comprehension without empathy. It is the capacity to see and to understand the experience, the ideas and the values of the other, almost to the point of identification. It recognizes the other’s existence and legitimizes the other’s ideas. The acquisition of this skill is necessary for a flexible and creative leadership.

The fourth “E” stays for Engage. Once a leader has empathized with the other, the leader can engage the other by soliciting ideas, contributions and commitments. By engaging the other a leader can foster in his own organization the capacity for imagination and creativity which can result in innovative solutions. By engaging the other, a leader is able to generate a menu of options and solutions.

Developing skills according to the “4E Leadership™” individuals will be able to navigate successfully and with confidence our high-speed, complex and paradoxical world, wheter you are a parent, a teacher, a student, a professional, a manager or a top-executive.

Aldo Civico, Ph.D., is an anthropologist and a conflict resolution expert. He is an anthropology professor at Rutgers University and the founder of The International Institute for Peace.
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