Four Dimensions of Leadership

Today’s business literature is replete with models of leadership and an entire industry has grown up around coaching leaders. Leadership is arguably one of the most valuable of human activities, yet despite the vast literature on the topic, many people remain unable to identify the basic building blocks that define what leadership is. As Elliot Jaques points out, intuitively we know that leaders are able to get people to work together effectively; to align them around a common purpose, goals, and objectives; to get them to co-operate with each other and to trust each other. We also know from the experience of observing leaders in action that the generic attributes of leadership described in the literature, and the actual role that a leader plays do not occur in a vacuum, but are embedded within specific historical contexts, business situations, and the organizational structures, systems, and culture within which people lead (Elliot Jaques, and Stephen Clement, Executive Leadership, (Arlington, VA: Cason Hall, 1994, pp. 4-6 ff.).

The model used by the Breckenridge Institute® contains four interdependent dimensions of leadership.

  • Expertise, Experience, and Wisdom
  • Problem Solving Ability
  • Personality, Core Beliefs and Values
  • Awareness of Self and Others

The first dimension of leadership (Expertise, Experience, and Wisdom) includes education, expertise, experience in specific industries and markets, and a track record of effectively leading organizations with various numbers of employees and managerial levels. Over time, managerial wisdom emerges as discernment about how organizations and industries work, what motivates people, what customers and suppliers truly need and desire, and how to work effectively at higher-levels of management (Elliot Jaques, Requisite Organization, Baltimore, MD: 2006).

The second dimension of leadership (Problem Solving Ability) is about having the appropriate level of “intellectual horsepower” to effectively perform the level of work and task complexity to which a person is assigned. As Jaques points out, work and task complexity is defined as: a) the number of variables operating in a situation, b) the ambiguity of these variables, c) their rate of change over time, d) the extent to which they are interwoven so that they have to be unraveled in order to be seen, e) the person’s ability to identify and control the salient variables once known, and f) the time horizon of the work in terms of days, months, and years (Jaques, Requisite Organization, pp. 24 ff. and Jaques and Clement, Executive Leadership, p. xiv ff.).

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Next Time: The lead article in the September issue of the Pinnacle will describe the concepts that make-up, The Conflict Ratio.

HBR Editor’s Blog

Every month, the senior editors of the Harvard Business Review (HBR) invite internationally recognized organizational theorists and practitioners to raise issues and answer questions about leadership and management issues on the HBR Editor’s Blog. This month, we provide Pinnacle readers with links to two important and interesting discussions (see below).

Marshall Goldsmith, Three Traps to Avoid When Choosing a Successor
Tom Davenport, Does “Management” Mean “Command and Control”?

We encourage you to join the conversation on the HBR Editor’s Blog and voice your opinions, commentary, and insights on these and other important topics.


The Breckenridge Institute’s new survey management software is up and running for the Breckenridge Type Indicator™ (BTI™) and the Breckenridge Relationship Indicator™ (BRI™). Line managers, HR professionals, internal or external consultants, coaches, and type professionals can now have 24-7 access to these exciting new tools. Contact Elin Larson for details on how you can begin using this exciting instrument in your organization or with your clients (970-389-4666 or

The Breckenridge Institute® announces the new Breckenridge Relationship Indicator™ (BRI™) that provides Enneagram scores for two people overlaid on a single radar graph, with the differences between the two participants’ personality types and likely areas of conflict discussed. It also measures the level of constructive and destructive conflict between two people. It comes in both a Corporate version that is used by managers and their direct reports, and a Corporate Couples version for couples who want to improve their time-life balance and their relationship. Contact Elin Larson for details on using this cutting-edge tool (970-389-4666 or

For a more complete listing of recently published on-line articles, white papers, and books from the Breckenridge Institute® go to

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Breckenridge Institute®

If you would like information about the Breckenridge Institute’s research activities, portfolio of assessment tools, or consulting services, visit our website at

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Culture Corner

“Like an atom, the invisible nature of such constructs as culture does not take away from their power and influence.”

Driskill and Brenton


Breckenridge Type Indicator™ (BTI™)

Breckenridge Type Indicator™ (BTI™) is an individual personality type indicator that is based on the Enneagram, also known as a Circumplex Model of personality. Studies have shown that people who possess emotional intelligence (EQ) are often twice as successful as those who possess only high levels of intellectual intelligence (IQ). A person’s level of self-awareness and self-control is an indicator of their openness to feedback, change, and their ability to succeed professionally, especially when under stress. The BTI™ is a powerful tool for identifying your hidden strengths, areas for improvement, and for developing a more effective balance between EQ and IQ. The BTI™ is the most reliable and valid Enneagram assessment instrument available and is designed to help identify key elements of managers’ and staff members’ personality and interaction styles. The BTI™ is typically used by proactive managers and staff members who want to take charge of their careers and become even higher-performers. People who get the most value from the BTI™ are those who use it to achieve higher levels of:

  • Professional competency in decision-making and problem solving
  • Personal competency in processing conflict and communicating more effectively
  • Social competency in teamwork and more effective group dynamics

Contact Elin Larson at or 970-389-4666 for details about how you can begin using this exciting tool in your organization or with your clients.

What We’re Reading

Gerald Driskill and Angela Brenton, Organizational Culture in Action

The concept of organizational culture emerged in the mid-1980s as a merging of Harvard Business School-style organization development theory and more traditional approaches to cultural anthropology taught in universities. The merger of these two research traditions can be seen in books like Deal and Kennedy’s, Corporate Cultures and Kotter and Heskett’s, Corporate Culture and Performance. Kotter and Heskett fall squarely on the organization development side where they try to establish quantitative cause-and-effect relationships between organizational culture and standard financial measures like net income growth and return on capital.  Deal and Kennedy reflect a more traditional approach to cultural anthropology with talk about corporate tribes, symbolic managers, heroes, and rites and rituals.