Prodromos: A look at good leadership

The question is important, persistent and almost unanswerable – what is a good leader?

We all struggle with the answer, and many times just acquiesce to the easy one: that it is situationally dependent. The right place, the right person, the right environment and the right situation make a good leader.

And though that may be true in many aspects – and there certainly is no formula or “how to” for good leadership – we believe there are some standing principles that can help us understand where we may be on our leadership journey, and guide us toward where we can strive to be in the future. We call this model the the Prodromos Evolution of Leadership.

Similar to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, the Prodromos Evolution of Leadership describes a hierarchy of leadership goals that enables leaders to assess where they are in their own journey, then provides them with objectives for an individual development plan.

Though the model looks linear, it does not imply you need to reach each level sequentially. The goal of every leader is to attain the highest level of leadership – the fulfillment of others – at their appropriate time.

There are many factors in leadership, and though the model is hierarchical, it allows for situational and environmental aspects. For example, there may be times when a leader needs to be solely worried about the organization’s survival to ensure work for others in the future. That does not give him/her a pass to only worry about the organization; the model encourages him/her to work toward a higher level as the situation and environment evolves. As the graphic suggests, there is a progression from the darker-colored foundational lower levels to achieving more highly evolved levels of enlightened leadership represented by the lighter colors at the top.

Here’s how we define the five levels of the Prodromos Evolution of Leadership model:

  • Lowest level – My success – the leader is only worried about his/her own well-being and success.
  • Level two – My organization’s success – the leader is only worried about the success of the organization, even at the possible immediate expense of the employees or others associated with the organization.
  • Level three – The success of my subordinates – a usual stop for most leaders, the leader makes sure that his/her people are advancing and doing well in the organization.
  • Level four – The success of others – this takes a very confident leader, one that is willing to ensure that the success of his/her subordinates, superiors, and even peers comes before his/her own – an incredibly selfless and true form of leadership, but still focused on the organization of the leader and others in it.
  • Highest level – The fulfillment of others – this is truly the most selfless and pure form of leadership in that the leader considers the needs of each individual over the needs of anything else, including the organization in which they are a part. For example, the fulfillment of others may encourage a standout employee to venture out of the organization for a better position, even though it may hurt the organization.

The Prodromos Evolution of Leadership can assist leaders in defining where they are, and instead of placing a judgement on their positions, allow them to self-assess and devise their own plan to move higher on the evolutionary model. The argument can be made, that if the highest level of the model is attained, all subordinate levels are attained as well.

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Click here to learn more about these and related principles by checking out JC’s book A Light in the Darkness: Leadership Development for the Unknown on Amazon.

Click here to contact JC and read his bio.