Relational, Appreciative, & Motivational Leadership

Recently a firefighter from Belgium asked David Christenson, O4R CEO, about relational, appreciative, and motivational Leadership. “Are they really all the same thing?”

Let’s start with AI

The Appreciative Inquiry (AI) approach to change management (Cooperrider and Whitney, 2005), is included in Appreciative Leadership (Whitney at al, 2010) as it builds on the foundation of success AI has had for several decades. Recall that AI organizes projects with people in phases of discovery, dreaming, design, and destiny.
AI 4-D Relational Leader Process
Appreciative Leadership adds practical and proven positive power tools that start with AI and then expand in ways to illuminate, include, inspire, and increase integrity. Diana Whitney, Ph.D., and her co-authors, provide many practical “how to” education and training exercises on the development of these leadership skills in their book on this topic by the same name.
Motivational Leadership, in my opinion, is the result of effectively applying relational leadership resources. Practices for dialogically-based collaboration are often very successful when leaders begin to carefully consider and change the ways we talk with each other. Much has been written on this by a Dutchman! Dr. Sidney Dekker writes on the topic of the New View, “It begins with talking about things differently, with using a different language, taking a different perspective.” When people are no longer perceived to be problems to control and are instead included, even inspired to become solutions to harness, they are motivated to collaborate and co-create new ways to move forward together with others.

The ultimate purpose, again in my opinion, is to grow capabilities of resilience. A contemporary of Dekker is Dr. Erik Hollnagel from Denmark! He writes on resilience in ways very compatible with New View thinking, “Resilience is “the ability to succeed under varying conditions…the ability to respond to events, to monitor ongoing developments, to anticipate future threats and opportunities, and to learn from past failures and successes alike.”
Both of these men, and several others including you and I, are driven by the real need to change our organizations approaches to safety in safety-critical, high-risk occupations. More on that next time.
Human Performance Optimization benefits from all of the above and can be expanded significantly to include much more (nutrition, exercise, etc.) but needs to begin with fundamentals of New View communication. Many of the ways we treat each other need to change. We need to stop doing destructive, limiting things and start co-constructing new more effective ways to move forward together.