The Leadership Matrix – How to create clarity, focus, direction and meaning

geschrieben von Peter Dilg (17. November 2014)

If I would ask you the following questions, what would be your answers?

  • Who are you, and why?
  • Who do you want to be, and why?
  • What is most valuable to you, and how do you honour and nurture that?


We often start a Leadership Dialogue with these questions. Usually, that has a strong impact on the participants. They tend to be instantly present: most of them notice that they do not have answers.

Why are these questions relevant to you as a leader? They are relevant because your followers (employees, customers, peers, bosses, your spouse, your kids) want to know. Their willingness to trust and to engage is based on your answers.

They want to know:

  • Why do you lead? Why you?
  • Where do we go?
  • Why that, and why there?
  • What is the gain, the outcome?
  • Can we trust you?
  • Will you be good for us?
  • Will you make this world a better place?

Their trust is built on your clarity and authenticity.

The next question we ask participants in our Leadership Dialogue is: „What do you stand for?“
Usually, we ask this question at the end of day one. We invite the participants to prepare a speech to be held first thing next morning. In order to prepare well, we suggest to have a silent evening meal, no emails nor phone calls, and no conversations. They should go from a full mind to mindfulness, from distraction to focus.
In their speeches next day people often talk about their values, their fathers and mothers, their teachers and bosses, their gains and their losses, their happiness and the price that they pay for it. These are moments of vulnerability, of great trust and great gains. The sharing connects and creates a community.

This is how you could lead your people. Value-based leadership.

What do you stand for? – When we listen mindfully to the participants’ speeches, part of their introspection are thoughts about their obligations towards a community. Here we pick up the red thread, which consequently leads to the core of our Leadership Dialogue: the Leadership Matrix.

This „tool“ provides a guideline for leaders to ask themselves some key questions. Quite a few participants of our Dialogue – most of them leaders of leaders – have used the Leadership Matrix as a guideline for their planning, for their personal development and as a base for their annual appraisal talks.

The Matrix is based on the question: „What do you lead?“
The answer of course is:

  • we lead ourselves,
  • we lead people and
  • we lead organizations.

Now, for each of those three areas (self, others, organizations), we invite people to think about the following three essential questions:

  • What matters?
  • What questions to ask?
  • What to achieve?

Let’s take an example from „Leading myself“.


„What essentially matters to me?“ – Answers could be:

  • A sense of purpose
  • Leaving a legacy
  • Making this world a better place
„What questions to ask myself?“ – Answers could be:

  •  „Where am I going right now?“
  • „Do I make a difference?“
  • „What does life expect from me?“
  • „What do I leave when I go?“
  •  „Am I happy?“
„What to achieve?“ – Answers could be:

  •  Making a difference
  •  A great life
  •  Joy
  • Fulfilment
  • Engagement
  • Loving and being loved
This final excursion and introspection during our Leadership Dialogue is divided into two parts. In part one, each participant works for an hour or so in silence and for him or herself.
In part two, the leaders pair up. Then, person A shares his/her answers with person B. B listens mindfully for one hour. Then, A and B swap roles and practice for another hour.Of course, you will not find all the answers of your questions in two hours. Actually, your answers are just the start of a journey to personal mastery and clarity. E.g. if you want to create a great life: what actually does that mean?Most participants find this exercise very challenging and at the same time extremely valuable for their business life as well as for their private life.If you dig deep enough, you will find profound answers. They will be the ground on which you stand. They will be the difference that make the difference.

Enjoy the journey.


Kommentar schreiben