Worldviews can be thought of as lenses through which we perceive and interpret our subjective experience. This “worldview contact lens” advertisement spoof highlights how worldviews color our interpretation of reality. For readers less familiar with the concept of worldviews… a handy worldview primer is offered below that correlates them with the style of leadership each prefers. This is a central aspect of Integral Leadership.
These crucial lenses are a primary way human beings filter subjective experience (of objective reality) and interpret those experiences in terms of:
- how things appear to be;
- how things should be;
- what’s right and wrong with how things are, and
- what, if anything, should be done about it.
Clearly then, this is of paramount importance if we are interested in understanding how people make sense of the world we share, and especially as leaders, how we can better understand what people care about, their priorities, their motivations, and the style of leadership that is likely to be most effective with them.
Much has been written on this topic. As a very, very brief introduction, the four lenses illustrated above can be characterized (in simple, non-academic terms) as follows:
The world is a playing field full of opportunity to achieve
People who see the world through this lens tend to value opportunity, achievement, success, winning, status, and recognition and tend to follow leaders who are perceived to have the most expertise and ability to achieve goals. In other words, people with this mindset tend to prefer leaders with aStrategic Leadership Style.
The world is a diverse ecosystem where cooperation leads to synergy
People who see the world through this lens tend to value personal growth, emotionally intimate relationships, equality, dialog, consensus, interdependence, inclusivity, sustainability, collaboration, and making a difference and tend to follow leaders who are perceived as being aware, sensitive to the wellbeing of others, value consensus, and always treat others as equals. In other words, people with this mindset tend to prefer leaders with a Collaborative Leadership Style.
The world is an ordered existence governed by a higher authority
People who see the world through this lens tend to value belonging, stability, order, security, conformity, and morality as defined by traditional values (in whatever tradition they were raised and socialized in—frequently religious but not necessarily) and tend to follow leaders who are perceived as having positional and/or moral authority. In other words, people with this mindset tend to prefer leaders with an Authoritarian Leadership Style.
The world is a jungle where the strongest survive and impose their will
People who see the world through this lens tend to value safety, protection, respect, self-expression, dominance, and gratification of desires, and tend to follow leaders who are perceived as having the most power (in terms of being the strongest, toughest, and most cunning). In other words, people with this mindset tend to prefer leaders with an Autocratic Leadership Style.
Much more to follow on leadership styles (strategic, collaborative, authoritarian, and autocratic) and which situations, and with which people and groups, those styles are best suited.