Tribal Leadership by Dave Logan, John King, and Halee Fischer-Wright

I have a fascination of books or the massive collection of other people’s thoughts in written form. Lately, with the US Presidential election looming and my own personal quest to become more of a leader than a manager, I often talk about leadership styles in my conversations. During one such conversation with a friend, she mentioned a book she was reading called Tribal Leadership. As we talked on the phone I Googled the book. Amazon Prime had it at my door in less than three days.

It has taken me quite a while to get through one section of this book – Stage Four in Tribal Leadership. I pick it up, read a sentence or two, then it goes back down. I pick it up, read the same two sentences, thinking about how to apply it to my own work ethic, then put it down for the rest of the day. I will give you a breakdown of the crux of this book on Leadership. It gave me quite the Ah- Ha moment when I first started reading it.

The authors, who study Leadership in it’s rawest form, not based on location, corporation, or education but on how successful one Leader is over another, classify people into Stages of Leaders. There are Five Stages of Leadership (Table 1, page 25) listed and explained below.

Stage One: Life Sucks (Theme) Despairing Hostility (Mood)

Only about 2% of American Professionals operate here at any given point (page 18). This person is hostile, either in action or words. Scandals and employees coming to work with a shotgun are Stage One companies. We have seen such in the nightly news, Erron, for example.

Stage Two: My Life Sucks (Theme) Apathetic Victim (mood)

25% of the workforce culture or “tribes” operate at this level. These people cross their arms in judgement and are sarcastic in a passive – aggressive manner (page 19). Accountability is lost and the person or people within this company operate by looking at the clock, that is they’d rather be somewhere else but at their job.

Stage Three: I’m Great!(and you are not…) (Theme) Lone Warrior (Mood)

49% of workplaces in the United States operate from this mind-set (page 20, 21). People looking at their workplace co-workers often point out that they have more drive and ambition and the others they work with do not. Success is measured in individual outcomes rather than group or department achievements.

Stage Four: We’re Great! (Theme) Tribal Pride (Mood)

22% of workforce personnel operate at this level of Leadership. The gulf between Stage Three and Stage Four Leadership is Grand Canyon huge (page 22). Triads are formed continually in Stage Four, where Diads are formed in Stage Three. Pride in the company values and mission are evident throughout the workforce. Eye contact and confidence are noticed through each employee contact.

Stage Five: Life is Great! (Theme) Innocent Wonderment (Mood)

Less than 2% of the workplace culture operate from this vantage point in the United States. This company sees that it will make history – not to compete with other like-minded corporations- but by making a global impact (page 25).

Back to my struggle in the book, Stage Four. Since I am mostly in Stage Three (by human- like default, I imagine) I am trying to cross the chasm into Stage Four with my day-to day work related relationships. This is so hard to do in many ways – a Fake- It – Until You Make-It maneuver. I want to be a Leader but right now am an employee. I see I am surrounded by Stage Three Managers, most who are young, inexperienced and have been introduced to management by being an employee of the store for 2-5 years, which shows some kind of tenacity and loyalty to the company. I’m on page 191 of 285 pages, so still have a way to go before finishing it. I recommend it for anyone to read, anyone can be a leader.

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