Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Relationship Mind

Howard Gardner, writing in Five Minds for the Future, talks about the potential of adolescents as future leaders being ripe for nurturing, only needing the guidance of teachers, parents, community leaders, or older peers to steer them in the right direction. Gardner then asserts that these minds can be shaped in five directions manifested through five minds:
  • the disciplined mind (a mind trained on a specific scholarly discipline, craft or profession)
  • the synthesizing mind (a mind that can create value from information)
  • the creating mind (a mind that can break new ground)
  • the ethical mind (a mind that contemplates meaning in work and life and then acts on it)
  • the respectful mind (a mind that welcomes differences between group and individuals)
Gardner has done a good job of drawing a diagram, of sorts, of the complete leader's mind. Only, I see one mind missing: the relationship mind.

One of the key ingredients of truly great leadership is effective communication. The best communication occurs within trusting, mutually respectful relationships. The leader must be willing to be open with his team. And, equally as important, the leader must be open to feedback from the team. The need for leaders to connect, develop relationships, and sustain those relationships with his team requires a relationship mind. The leader must have a genuine interest in the lives of these people, over and above their contributions to the work, in order for them to care about him and his vision.

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