Consultant Markova (Wide Open: On Living with Purpose and Passion, 2008, etc.) and co-author McArthur argue that current thinking about leadership methods must change in the coming century.
The authors view the present as a transitional era in which two kinds of cultural paradigms about leadership are in contention. “We have been educated for a time that no longer exists,” they write. “Leaders today are confronted with vastly different challenges than their predecessors, who were taught how to be right but not how to be effective with other people.” Meeting new challenges requires learning how to develop relationship skills, and the authors offer a plan for developing “collaborative intelligence,” or “CQ.” Drawing from other disciplines—e.g. Ned Herrmann's theories of brain dominance and proposal of different “cognitive styles”—they outline an approach that, they argue, will enable individuals and groups to shift their mental states by becoming aware of “languages of thought.” The authors probe beneath the ostensible message to the content of delivery, as indicated by body language, tone of voice, and/or facial expression. Their purpose is to establish an environment conducive to collaboration. Doing this requires self-awareness and criticism. With self-awareness, those who aspire to leadership positions can improve their styles. Markova and McArthur maintain that cognitive activity is knowable and changeable. While the old methods reduce relations between people to those based on economics and contracts, the authors aim to foster “inter-dependence, receptivity, connection, influence and inquiry” as the alternative. For them, this alternative is a way “to accept and evoke change” based on moving from rigid uncertainties to flexible curiosity, without losing virtuous intent. Leaders would no longer need to maintain the appearance of rightness but be able to collaborate productively. The authors present exercises and descriptions to clarify how their methods are put into action.
Provocative but open to the charge of one-sided overcorrection.