The Seven Transformations of Leadership

Developing Your Leadership Style

Seven Transformations of Leadership.

© iStockphoto/Devonyu

Successful leaders know that they need to develop their leadership skills on an ongoing basis – this helps them handle increasingly challenging situations. However, many leaders stop learning at a particular skill level, meaning that their career progression falters.

How can you avoid this, and, so, realize your full potential?

Researchers David Rooke and William Torbert argue that there are seven stages that the most successful leaders go through, and that, by learning new skills, you can move from one stage to the next.

In this article, we'll look at these seven leadership transformations, and we'll discuss how you can move through each stage.

The Seven Transformations

Rooke and Torbert published their Seven Transformations of Leadership in the April 2005 Harvard Business Review, following 25 years of survey-based consultancy.

In their surveys, Rooke and Torbert asked executives to complete 36 sentences related to leadership.

They then evaluated the responses from the survey, and, based on the results, they created seven categories that describe how leaders approach the world around them. Essentially, they defined a series of categories, or "action logics," that describe the ways that leaders think.

Rooke and Torbert argued that each action logic has its benefits, but that some are more effective than others. Certain action logics are successful in a greater number of leadership situations, and this leads to higher overall performance.

Leaders who can understand their current action logic can make changes to move towards one that's more effective. By transforming to a more effective action logic, they can improve their leadership abilities.

The list below ranks Rooke and Torbert's seven types of action logic. The further you get down the list, the more sophisticated and effective your approach to leadership is likely to be.

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