Leaders Ask These Four Simple Questions

Recently, when covering the Four Levels of Maturity, we were on a quest to find an essential question that a person would ask at each level. Recall, the first two levels are somtimes referred to as acting “‘below the line”, whereas levels three and four are sometimes referred to as acting “above the line”, which is where we want everyone to be.

Here’s what we came up with:

Level I – Selfish: Am I focused only on myself right now?

Level II – Independent: Have I taken care of my responsibilities without regard to the work of others?

Level III – Cooperative (the ideal level for an individual contributor): Am I making choices about how and when I do my tasks by taking into consideration how the work of others is dependent on mine? Or, am I getting my work done while ensuring that I’m easy to work with?

Level IV – Generous (the ideal level for a leader): Am I deciding what to do next after a careful look at the landscape and evaluating what the team, organization, and individuals need?

Another quest was to come up with new summative statements for each level in regard to “being easy to work with”:

Selfish: It doesn’t matter if I’m easy to work with.

Independent: If only others were easy to work with.

Cooperative: I’m going to be easy to work with.

Generous: I’m going to see who needs the most help to become easy to work with.

These questions and statements can help clarify where people are at, and what they need.

Do you have statements or questions to add?

2 Responses

  1. Matt Pries
    | Reply

    Generous: By saying you are going to see who needs the most help, that posits that you know based on your own personal judgement. I don’t mean to simplify what you’re after, but it seems like the generous, Level 4 participant would more likely say, “I’m going to do my best to meet the needs of the group so everyone can work more easily with each other.” Certainly a leader (e.g. CEO, principal, pastor) may have a good feel for who needs the most help, but sometimes our leaders aren’t in a position to make a “judgement-free” assessment (think teacher leaders, team captains, section leaders . . .). Especially when functioning within a peer leadership role, it can be a tenuous task to find the one who needs the most help — which means it will have to be done without making clear that’s why the help is being offered. My two cents . . . and interested in hearing some clarifying points if warranted.

    • Alan Feirer
      | Reply

      Excellent thoughts, Matt. I don’t think you’re simplifying; seems like you’re enhancing. Thanks!

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