When are you Mature Enough to be a Leader?

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.



ImageMichelle Clarke is an Executive Coach based in Cape Town. She works locally and internationally with Leaders, Executives and Executive Coaches, helping them to navigate the complexity of 21st century leadership.  To learn more about her work please visit her website www.motivcoach.com, and be sure also to subscribe to this blog for future updates.

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4 responses to “When are you Mature Enough to be a Leader?

  1. Hi Michelle,

    I like your stuff but aren’t these definitions a little narrow? … for example:

    What did the Organisation say it meant by “immature” or “not ready for ‘more’ leadership responsibility?”
    Did you get to understand this before publishing this blog?

    Are there issues of core competencies in these individuals that required developing before career promotion?

    Does the Organisation’s comment related to ‘maturity’ apply: to emotional maturity or maturity level of competency?

    I might recommend you explore readiness for leadership in terms of maturity in more ways than this……… e.g. level of skill at : leadership behaviour; business management; managing change; delivering business performance….

    p.s. you have spelled ‘quite’ incorrectly on line 5 (quiet)

    Look forward to your next one !

  2. Thank you for taking the time, Jacques, to comment and question and most importantly to be a wonderful scout for my spelling errors! Much appreciated. Indeed, my post presents only one angle to explore leadership maturity and hopes to provide some food for thought. Knowing that I have you in my readership gives me confidence that you will push me to articulate areas and arguments that I might ordinarily not.

  3. I just want to mention I am just newbie to blogs and really loved this website. Almost certainly I’m planning to bookmark your blog post . You definitely come with awesome writings. Appreciate it for sharing with us your blog.

  4. You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be actually something which I think I would never understand. It seems too complicated and extremely broad for me. I am looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of it!

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