The central, most telling question to ask a leader is, whom do you serve?
Some leaders will tell you, using a popular descriptor, that they aspire to be “servant leaders.” The question still remains, however, a servant to whom: to yourself, to your group, or to society (to cite three of several options)?
Asking the question whom do you serve? is a powerful vector on which to build a useful typology of leadership. Based on this idea, I have constructed a six-level Purpose-Driven Model of Leadership informed by the work of Jean Piaget, Lawrence Kohlberg, and his colleague, Robert Kegan. The answer to the question whom do you serve often reveals more about leaders than knowing their personality traits, level of achievement, or whether they were “transformational” or “transactional” leaders.
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