Leadership dimensions

29 Jan 2018

What does ‘leadership’ mean?

In my last post I shared that I need to pivot my professional development from product management to product leadership, which means that I need to figure out what ‘leadership’ actually means. The importance of ‘context’ became clear to me in my last post, so I’m looking to define what leadership means for me (rather than what leadership means in an abstract sense).

What does ‘leadership’ mean for me?

For me, leadership has several dimensions. This model has helped me to identify these dimensions and begin to think about them, and how I develop within them. The model was developed by my colleague Georg Fasching, who’s been working with me in a leadership coaching context for around a year (and agile coaching for a year before then). Georg has developed this leadership model during this time, based in part on the context in which I’m working (leadership team in a large enterprise with a matrix management structure, in the process of ‘digital transformation’), so based on my working relationship with Georg, the quality of his model, and our shared context, it works well for me.

If I take Georg’s model and personalise it for my needs right now, I understand leadership to have the following dimensions:

Next time: value contexts

To return to the beginning of this post, my leadership development will be most useful when I understand the contexts in which I work and think about what leadership means within those contexts. It’s clear that I’m most interested to explore the ‘value management’ dimension of leadership. I will prioritise the next post in this blog to think about what value looks like in the many contexts of government: what does it mean for product managers, and what does it mean for product leaders?


Coaching is in the background of this post. I’ve coached and been coached for around ten years and have typically found it useful when I’ve ‘clicked’ with the coach or coachee, and the style of coaching is matched to the right context. In this post we’re seeing a situation where ‘executive coaching’ has helped, but there are many types of coaching. Kate Leto and Barry O’Reilly recently published this post which helps to explain the difference between a coach, a mentor and a consultant, and which summarises some of the value of coaching.