A Leader’s Guide to Culture-Shaping: Reactive vs. Creative

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A Leader’s Guide to Culture-Shaping: Reactive vs. Creative

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This is a follow-up article to my Culture-Shaping post for Leaders. You can find Part-1 here and Part-2 here

One of my areas of interest over the last 3-5 years is finding a model or tool that could help leaders with identifying their current leadership tendencies and then guide their evolution towards more agile culturally supportive behaviors.

I didn’t want it to be something that was so constricting or binary that it failed to give them guidance (and hope) for change. I also wanted it to be rooted in solid research and data. Finally, I wanted it to compliment my Certified Agile Leadership class (CAL I) and assist me in my leadership coaching efforts. 

I explored two instruments/models that I found useful in meeting my criteria. One is the Leadership Agility assessment by Bill Joiner and the other was the Leadership Circle Profile assessment by TLC.

Neither of them is strictly related to agile software development, methods or business agility, as they are more general-purpose leadership assessment instruments. That being said, they both are incredibly helpful for leaders who are on an agile, Culture-Shaping journey. 

While I was trained on both of them, I’ve selected the Leadership Circle Profile (for individual assessments) and the Collective Leadership Assessment (for groups/teams).

Both of them have at their core a set of competencies and tendencies that I wanted to explore in this post. Under the banner of Culture-Shaping, one of the first things that I think is helpful is to understand our personal “leanage” when it comes to our leadership stance. And these assessments really help with that. Please keep in mind that I’m not pushing the instruments, but the thinking behind them right now.

In the top half of the circle are what is known as Creative Leadership Competencies.

Here’s how they’re defined—

Assesses 20 dimensions of leadership culture. They measure key leadership behaviors and internal assumptions that lead to an organizational culture where fulfillment and achievement are high.

It’s broken into 5 high-level dimensions—Relating, Self-Awareness, Authenticity, System Awareness, and Achieving which are further decomposed into 20 overall dimensions.

As an example, Self-Awareness is broken down across—

  • Selfless Leader

  • Balance

  • Composure

  • Personal Learner

And Achieving, across—

  • Strategic Focus

  • Purposeful & Visionary

  • Achieves Results

  • Decisiveness

From an agile leadership or Culture-Shaping perspective, these are the areas where you want to be particularly focused, strengthening, and amplifying in your leadership journey.

The bottom half of the circle are what’s known as your Reactive Leadership Styles.

Here’s how they’re defined—

Measure 11 dimensions of leadership culture that are reactive. They measure ways of leading that have strengths associated with them, but also reflect inner beliefs and behaviors that significantly limit effectiveness, authentic expression, and empowering leadership.

It’s broken into 3 high-level dimensions—Controlling, Protecting, and Complying which are further decomposed into 11 overall dimensions. 

Controlling is broken down across—

  • Perfect

  • Driven

  • Ambition

  • Autocratic

Protecting, across—

  • Arrogance

  • Critical

  • Distance

And Complying, across—

  • Conservative

  • Pleasing

  • Belonging

  • Passive

What’s useful about the personal, Leadership Circle Profile, is it’s a 360-degree assessment that will give you a wonderful sense of where you are across the dimensions.

In a nutshell, you’ll want to—

Grow and embrace your Creative Competencies

Carefully consider reducing (not eliminating) your Reactive Tendencies

And achieve a Healthier Balance across the two… 

Self-awareness is incredibly important to would-be Culture-Shapers. And it’s hard to get that without having some sort of assessment to get 360-degree feedback.

The LCP from my perspective is a holistic tool that provides a map for agile leaders. From a full-circle perspective, you’ll want to develop a shallow root system on the reactive-side and a broad-leafy canopy on the creative-side. That is IF you want to effectively grow your agile ecosystem.

I highly recommend looking into it and would be happy to explore it with you if you have questions or interest.

Stay agile my friends,


#LeadersSetCulture, #LeadersShapeCulture, #CultureShaping

BTW: there will be a 4’th article in this series where we’ll explore the Laloux Culture model and the insights they can provide for your Culture-Shaping efforts.

 Leadership Circle Profile, brochure link—


Collective Leadership Assessment, brochure link—



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