The Many Dimensions of Leadership

By Hope Kudo

“Lead with fluidity and directionality.” -Sydney Wiecking
Sydney Wiecking shares her leadership insight with Nalukai 2018 students. Photo by Gabriel Navalta.

Sydney Wiecking shares her leadership insight with Nalukai 2018 students. Photo by Gabriel Navalta.

In your daily dose of Nalukai, yesterday we were challenged to dig deeper, be introspective, and embrace a new paradigm of thought.

Sydney Wiecking is a professional leadership development executive coach and trainer. After exposure to the extensive knowledge that she graciously imparted on our students, they emerged ready to navigate any storm with valuable leadership and listening skills.

In any sort of social setting, listening is more than half the battle. Using and developing your listening skills in this day and age, when many choose to scroll and tap, has become quite the phenomenon. However, listening doesn’t just a play a role in fostering more meaningful relationships; it’s a key part of any successful leader. Leaders should be intentional about when they’re listening and what they’re listening to.  Here are the THREE LEVELS OF LISTENING!

Level 1: All About ME (Internal Listening)

This is when you are passively listening to a person.  You are self-focused, listening primarily to your inner dialogue and opinions. You may be having a conversation with someone, and they may be telling a story about how they went cliff jumping and scraped their foot, and it may remind you of that one funny time you stubbed your toe on a rock. The entire time, you’re not truly listening to the person; you’re just waiting for them to finish so you can tell yours.

Level 2: Move Outside Yourself (Focused Listening)

This level of listening is very intuitive and directed. It is a more active type of listening that requires concentration and interpretation to hear the “unsaid” themes and messages. As the person is talking, you’re observing more than just their words—you’re looking at their facial expressions AND body language to interpret the meaning behind their words.

Level 3: Global Focus (360-Degree Listening)

Truly engage in the conversation. This is the most active level of listening; you should be getting curious, asking questions, and deepening your understanding of who the person you’re talking to is.  Dig in deep with powerful questions, such as:

“What’s important about that?”

“What’s your purpose in life?”

“What gives you the drive?”

“What are the struggles that you’ve overcome?”

“What if it were easy?”

“What do you want?”

Active listening plays a large role in facilitating great relationships and goes hand-in-hand with being an effective leader. However, listening isn’t the only quality that makes someone a great leader. An amalgamation of ideas and personal traits are considered, but the best thing is, there’s no specific personality that qualifies you to be a leader. According to Sydney, there are five different types of leaders:

  1. Leader from the Front: “I have a vision, but I need YOU to work with me, support me and align you with my vision. I won’t tell you what to do, but I will recognize your strengths and align them with my vision.”

  2. Leader from Behind: One that steps behind the vision and empowers the team, saying, “GO! YOU CAN DO IT!”

  3. Leader from the Side: Sharing a vision, co-leading, co-creating–if you start going on a tangent, the other person can realign you.

  4. Leader from the Field: Someone on the receiving end of orders who will name what’s wrong in a situation.  It can be difficult to speak up, but you’re the one on the ground, and you understand what’s needed better than anyone.

  5. Leader from Within: Asks themselves, “What do I need to ground me? What do I need to connect me?” This is the self-care type of leadership. Your values reveal why things are important to you.


David Clarke