Three Types Of Leadership

Marty Krasney

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Awakin FeatureThere are three ways that human beings can accomplish anything together and each of them has its own type of leader. Very simply, the three domains of shared human endeavor can be characterized as Force, Trade and mutual aspiration, which I abbreviate as Love. 

Force in its pure form is a win-lose proposition, with a paramount leader, who co-opts and subordinates the power, volition and resources of all those being led. Examples range from primitive tribal chieftains to cult leaders, those running prison camps and police states, and slavery. The unitary leader or faction at the top is the only winner.
 
In Trade, the job of the leader is to facilitate the production, as inexpensively and attractively as possible, of goods or services for which others will want to exchange a possession of perceived equal value, in order to obtain what the trading-partner is offering. The trade can be barter, or an apple for a dollar, a movie ticket for ten, a house swap, prostitution, bitcoins or a painting by Leonardo de Vinci for nearly half-a-billion dollars. Trade can be accomplished with a Coke machine, by mail or electronically. The parties have no continuing interest in each other after concluding the trade, generally do not wish one another ill, but retain their detachment with no further connectivity, at least until the next interaction, which is why trade is so prevalent on line. It is a win-null situation.
 
When Love is the motivator, the intended outcomes are shared benefit, mutual satisfaction and, most importantly, continuing affiliation.  It is a win-win situation, and the intention is to maintain it that way. Obviously, this is present in a caring and compatible couple or family, but also in tennis twosomes, string quartets, and successful churches, colleges, hospitals, not-for-profit agencies and businesses. (It would be naïve not to acknowledge that most human interactions, even intimate ones, mix elements of Force, Trade and Love.  Lincoln combined Force and Love, Picasso Trade and Love. Walt Disney, arguably, all three. But, usually, one domain is dominant.) We know them when we see them, and many of them are not all that famous. They are heads of nursing staffs, principals of schools, park superintendents, small-business-owners, youth-league coaches and grandmothers. Love leadership is more challenging with larger populations, but it is not impossible, and if it is pursued, it can be achieved. If it were achieved, it could transform the world.

Too often, the elevation of Love Leadership is disparaged or dismissed, as soft, as sentimental, as frivolous, as expendable.  So, people don’t make the effort, and then we grumble about being in such dire straits, with malevolent governments, trivial enervating consumerism and disconnected lives: isolation, stress, fear and sadness.
 
The antidote is the elevation of Love Leadership, at least to parity with the other two and ultimately toward preeminence. First it needs to be a mindset, then actions and ultimately a way of being. It is the only certain vehicle to a world that truly works for everyone.

Marty Krasney is the founder of Dalai Lama Fellows. More about him here.

Seed questions for reflection: How do you relate to the three types of leadership? Can you share a personal story of Love Leadership? What helps you elevate your leadership to Love Leadership?

Add Your Reflection:

4 Previous Reflections:

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    On Jun 3, 2018 david doane wrote:
     I agree with the author's description of force leadership.  I see trade as trade, not as a form of leadership.  In love leadership, I see the leader being the union of the participants as they bilaterally establish a respectful, compassionate, loving cooperative effort.  My marriage is often love leadership as we have become a loving, respectful, working together team.  What helps me elevate leadership to love leadership is seeing us who are in some joint project as in it together, being respectful and kind to one another, expressing and valuing one another's contributions, and seeing us as peers.  A full love leadership necessitates peership.  In any hierarchical or older generation-younger generation situation (such as parent-child, boss-employee, teacher-student), love is important and makes the situation more enjoyable and perhaps more productive, but the parent or boss or teacher is the in charge leader so it's not a love leadership in the full... [View Full Comment]

     I agree with the author's description of force leadership.  I see trade as trade, not as a form of leadership.  In love leadership, I see the leader being the union of the participants as they bilaterally establish a respectful, compassionate, loving cooperative effort.  My marriage is often love leadership as we have become a loving, respectful, working together team.  What helps me elevate leadership to love leadership is seeing us who are in some joint project as in it together, being respectful and kind to one another, expressing and valuing one another's contributions, and seeing us as peers.  A full love leadership necessitates peership.  In any hierarchical or older generation-younger generation situation (such as parent-child, boss-employee, teacher-student), love is important and makes the situation more enjoyable and perhaps more productive, but the parent or boss or teacher is the in charge leader so it's not a love leadership in the fullest sense. 

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    1 reply: Amy | Post Your Reply
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    On Jun 2, 2018 amy wrote:

     Love trumps "force and trade types" every time!  Love (God) is fair and balanced.  Love (God) is pure (with no strings attached/evil forces motivated by sin/imbalances).  Love (God) doesn't play "trade games" and does not require force ... because people (me) are drawn to it (Him) out of  pure need and attraction.   Who helps me elevate my leadership to Love (God)?  Jesus!


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    On Jun 2, 2018 Jagdish P Dave wrote:
     In my way of being, love is at the center-the main motivator, the apsirer and inspirer in my life. In love threre is giving and receiving unconditionally where the distinction between giving and receiving goes away. It is an expereince of merging. It is a meeting place of head and heart resulting in whilesome actions. I have spent seventy five years of my life teaching. It has been a joyful journey of my life. My relationship with my parents and brothers and sisters was also founded on love and so also my relationship wirh my wife. She was raised in a very rich family but came to a very poor famly and became a loving member of the entire family. I have gone through some heavy duty difficult times in my life but love has been my life holder. It is very difficult for me to relate to power and fame hungry forcefu leaders or people I come across in my life.How to be  compassionte to such people is a challenge for me. I do not hate them but also I do not love them. I want to be ... [View Full Comment]

     In my way of being, love is at the center-the main motivator, the apsirer and inspirer in my life. In love threre is giving and receiving unconditionally where the distinction between giving and receiving goes away. It is an expereince of merging. It is a meeting place of head and heart resulting in whilesome actions.

    I have spent seventy five years of my life teaching. It has been a joyful journey of my life. My relationship with my parents and brothers and sisters was also founded on love and so also my relationship wirh my wife. She was raised in a very rich family but came to a very poor famly and became a loving member of the entire family.

    I have gone through some heavy duty difficult times in my life but love has been my life holder. It is very difficult for me to relate to power and fame hungry forcefu leaders or people I come across in my life.How to be  compassionte to such people is a challenge for me. I do not hate them but also I do not love them. I want to be authentic and compassionate and that is a challenge I have been going through at this stage of my life.

    May I continue facing the challenge of cultivating loving kindness for those whom I do'nt like and want to stay away from them!

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