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  • Writer's pictureGraeme Findlay

The Leadership Differential® Compass

In my last two posts, I introduced two different categorization dimensions for the field of leadership development.

The first of these was the Self-Behaviour dimension which divided the field between self-awareness focused approaches and those which concentrated on developing skills. The second was the Context-Relationship dimension; approaches that treated people as part of system and those that treated people as unique individuals.

We now combine these dimensions into the Leadership Differential Compass;

Self – Development in this dimension has participants ask themselves, “As a leader, who am I being?” The focus is on developing self-awareness through deep reflection and the use of techniques founded in the psychological sciences.

Relationships – The question “How do I connect with people in order to maximise my influence?” has participants work on their ability to form deep connections with their team and colleagues.


Behaviours – This is the dimension of leadership skills. Participants ask “What am I doing? How can I improve the impact of the actions that I take as leader?”.

Context – There is no such thing as a universal workplace. In this dimension, participants think about the system that they operate in, and how it uniquely responds and adapts.

At DXDT, we believe that effective leadership development requires engagement in all four dimensions. Our research confirms that this is rarely the case. Almost all approaches cluster in one or two quadrants, resulting in massive lost opportunity and wasted money.

The Leadership Differential overcomes the inherent limitations of conventional approaches by being a meta-model.

“A meta-model may be defined as a model describing many other models. As such, the purpose of meta-modelling is not to present new information, but to organise and synthesize existing information into systematic patterns. Out of these patterns one can sense an underlying, inherent organization that was “there” all the time.” (Ivey and Matthews, p237)

The Leadership Differential is the master framework accessing academically proven models and approaches. But it is much more than just a collection; it connects and synthesizes to create unparalleled access to leadership development.


Ivey, Allen E., and William J. Matthews. “A Meta-Model for Structuring the Clinical Interview.” Journal of Counseling & Development (1984): n. pag. Web. 26 June 2016.

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