Through a recent Executive Coaching intervention, I’ve been introduced to a group of pissed-off individuals who, much to their frustration, have had their application for a career promotion declined. The organization feels that they ‘not ready’ for more leadership responsibility, that they are ‘not functioning at the level of maturity’ that is required for the new role.  It’s quiet elusive – this notion of leadership ‘maturity’ – and the organization is struggling to articulate what it looks like.  Maturity, while sometimes but not always  age-related, it is definitely intention-related.  In the simplest, linear terms the process of maturation is about the transmutation of intention from being here to get, to being here to give.

Etsko Schuitema  (Intent: Exploring the Core of Being Human) reflects on the following key distinctions between being the child and the adult—the child is in the care of the adult, has little responsibility and is not accountable because it has poor command over it’s needs. Needs typically refer to those things that one wants to get.  Needs based behavior is concerned with getting something from the other in order to gratify the self.  To act on the basis of needs is to take.  Values on the other hand refer to that which is correct.  In so far as they define correctness values define what one should be giving in a particular situation. Therefore, acting on the basis of values, giving and reflectiveness are consistent with maturity.  And, of course, the key muscle in the process of maturation involves a process of the cultivation of awareness.

Schuitema’s table below offers a mature guide to the behaviors consistent with the mature individuals.  It can help us to define, set direction and intentions for our own continued growth.

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Michelle Clarke is a Leadership and Personal Branding Coach based in Latin America working with English-speaking leaders across the globe.

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