Book Review: Co-Active Leadership
Karen and Henry Kimsey-House have a unique and thoughtful leadership model that is outlines in their book “Co-Active Leadership: Five Ways To Lead“.
Karen and Henry, co-founders of CTI, a global coach training and leadership development company, have fashioned this effective model from years of working with various types of leaders.
In shifting away from one-dimensional (and may I add the “that’s the way I am!”) leadership, the authors show that everyone is capable of varying leadership roles based on their abilities and the situations in which they lead. They define a Co-Active leader as one who represents the proper relational aspects (“co“) of leadership and couples it with the action-oriented (“active“) aspects.
Starting with the Co-Active Leader “Within” one finds their life purpose and core values. In identifying times when to lead out “Front” the leader encourages courageous conversations while standing powerfully for the vision and encouraging others to take the lead as well. The leader “Behind” seeks to find the right in others, while being their champion and an active listener.
Leaders who lead “Beside” happen when they design alliances (keyword) by fostering alignment and agreement along the other leaders and team members. A leader in the “Field” trusts natural instinct and intuition, is aware of the impact they have, and acts accordingly while speaking truthfully.
An effective co-active leader will move seamlessly along the model as situations call. A day may be filled with a leader starting off leading in front motivating the team to start the day, then be behind to develop others, and work beside a team on a key project, all the while understanding their impact on the field around them.
What I like is that the model centers with the common overlap of “Within“, as the authors remind ourselves in each role not to lose our identity and authenticity of values.
This book will make you think, and challenge you in your leadership trajectory. The model is not designed to attain perfection in each area, or to claim a certain aspect as your own, but to help us transition to the most effective way to lead as needed.
Read “Co-Active Leadership” and understand the five ways to lead better in your world.