The Builder-Leader

Say hello to another type of leader and leadership–the Builder-Leader.

I’m working with a private client in my Creative Conversations service. The client came to me with a particular situation. They were in charge of an organization with an impending physical expansion. It would be a major new physical space. My client asked me to think of a historical leader we could follow “Down River”, as I like to call it–flowing down the years of the leader’s life as they unfold.

It didn’t take long for me to think of a new sort of twist on this. This was more than leadership by itself; here was a subset of leadership that I dubbed “the Builder-Leader.” My client’s leadership would include the particular circumstance of overseeing the creation of a new space and the transition of the leader’s followers to work in that new space. That’s the purview of the Builder-Leader as I see it.

I don’t know how comfortable you are with American history but I wonder if you have a suggestion for someone who was a Builder-Leader.

My choice for my client was…

George Washington.

Think about if for a second. Washington is a fabulous example of a leader who built things, or at least organizations. He built and led a regiment of soldiers during the French and Indian War. He built and led the estate of Mt. Vernon. He built and led the Continental Army. And he helped to build and lead the new American government under the Constitution. He was a Builder-Leader through and through.

Without divulging any confidences, I can tell you with one hundred percent certainty that my client has enjoyed our mutual journey down George Washington River–the Builder-Leader!