Holistic Leaders are More Effective, and Here’s Why

Sep 03 2015

We’ve said before that there are many definitions of leadership. One thing that all definitions agree on, however, is that good leaders inspire others and help them realize their true potential. Leaders help others not only recognize what they can become but also help them become those things.

Only a leader who understands how to lead holistically can accomplish this.

Studies of leadership have pointed to four leader paradigms: trait leaders, behavioral leaders, contingency leaders, and integrative leaders. Each type of leader has stemmed from an evolutionary shift in leadership approaches, and each offers a different perspective on how to help their followers achieve their potential.

TrustThe challenge with these leadership paradigms is that they do not reach far enough into the spectrum of motivation. They focus on the leader and the leader’s choices as being the determining factors in the success or failure of the process. Despite the importance of these aspects of good leadership, other components exist, such as personality dynamics and context.

Leadership, therefore, should be focused on more than a person leading people toward finishing tasks – it should reach further into follower motivation.

Leadership should also provide the framework for open and productive communication within the work environment. The most successful undertakings take place in a collaborative environment that involves open and honest communication.

Holistic leadership breaks down the paradigm walls by taking all of these aspects into account. Leading holistically involves focusing on an integrative view of leaders, followers, and circumstances. It also focuses more on creating the healthy environment people need to be successful.

Developing a new leadership style isn’t easy. Transitioning from one type of leader to another within a business can be especially challenging. Working with so many people and introducing changes opens the door to resistance and resentment.

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