The Seven Roles of an Engaged Leader - IEDP
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The Seven Roles of an Engaged Leader

The greatest leaders are role models at every level


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Leaders appear when awareness meets need. But once those needs are properly identified, the leader in question must take specific steps to fulfil the demands of their role. These are the thoughts expressed by Deepak Chopra in a recent Executive Briefing published by the Kellogg School of Management. Chopra, a medical doctor popular for his views on alternative medicine and self help, is currently an Adjunct Professor of Executive Programs at Kellogg.

In his latest article, he identifies seven primary roles a person will be called to fulfil if they should step into a leadership vacuum. These are:

1. Protector/crisis manager; 

2. Achiever/motivator;

3. Team builder/negotiator;

4. Nurturer;

5. Innovator;

6. Transformer; and

7. Sage and seer.

Chopra outlines the roles above from lowest to highest, emphasising that higher needs cannot be fulfilled until lower ones are met. Thus, each role needs to be fulfilled on its own terms, with the greatest leaders being able to reflect all seven needs. “Their secret is a rare ability to be seen as a role model at every level,” he writes.

These thoughts form part of Chopra’s teachings on Kellogg’s executive education program, The Soul of Leadership. Alongside Professor Michelle Buck, he teaches this three-day program helping leaders to make profound changes to the way they lead by becoming “engaged leaders.”

Chopra’s seven “roles” are set out in a manner not so different from Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs model, which similarly lists the seven “needs” that humans must fulfil in hierarchal order. Maslow’s model (developed in the 1940-50s) is often used to teach effective leadership, with leaders required to be higher up in the hierarchy, having already understood the needs their followers are still understanding.

The Leadership Vacuum—Make it Your Friend

The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University is recognized globally as a pioneer in general management education that offers innovative academic opportunities for today’s leading thinkers

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