(Thank you to listener / reader Matt for bringing this article to my attention)

Many leadership articles discuss the differences of “leaders” versus “managers”; this article argues that the focus should instead be on charity versus selfishness. Over the course of the article, charity is equated to many of the principles of servant leadership (i.e., looking after the best interests and well-being of your followers) whereas selfishness comprises the exact opposite (i.e., looking after yourself first).

Using a military context as a base, the article highlights that the principles of both charity and selfishness can be applied to three different kinds of leadership:

  • Structural leadership (“the architect”) – largely equated to organizational theory
  • Relational leadership (“the gardener”) – facilitating positive interactions among the group
  • Vision Leadership (“the navigator”) – providing a roadmap for the future

I really like the way the author sums up the interrelationships of the various kinds of leadership: “The three forms can easily complement each other — the architect builds spaces for growth, the gardener cultivates those spaces, and the navigator plants seeds for the future.”  Where I have an issue with the article is the idea that leadership could occur with a selfishness theme.  Yes, a selfish person COULD be in a position of leadership, but that would not make them a leader – they would instead simply be “a boss.” 


The Three Streams of Leadership” by Dave Blair at medium.com on 9 September 2015

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