In my last post (LINK) I wrote about the Green vMEME and political correctness – the tendency of that developmental level to insist on certain ways of communicating and behaving so as to show honor and respect to others – and to avoid any sense of creating a sense of feeling diminished or shamed for differences among people.
And I wrote: Green is still a 1st Tier values system, therefore, it is fear based. At Green the acceptance of differences is not absolute. It is generally open to diversity of appearance and culture, to gender fluidity and identity politics, but it is not welcoming to disagreements with these values. Green, especially when a healthy sense of Blue structure is absent, can also be very flaccid when confronted, especially by Egotistic-Red. So there are difficulties here, just as there are at every level.
As more and more New Thought spiritual communities and the individuals within them evolve into the Green vMEME Level of Existence, the issues of appropriate spiritual leadership for this level come to the fore. How best to lead a community that is centered at Green or becoming that way?
Implicit in the Spiral Dynamics™ Model is the idea that the leader of an organization or community needs to be either at the same level or higher than the bulk of the membership. Since 2nd Tier leadership is very rare, this means that in many New Thought communities where a significant percentage of community members are at Green, the spiritual leader will most likely be at Green or above. Let’s leave out 2nd Tier for the moment and focus on the spiritual leader at Green.
Of course, we must remember that most of us are an amalgam of the various levels, and will likely be centered primarily at one or two levels or be in between two levels (painful). So looking at someone as being centered at Green or any vMEME level will probably not be 100% accurate – but it does have value.
“. . . Green (is) in a very interesting position as the last stage before integration (becoming 2nd Tier), the stage from which the aspiration becomes possible at the same time as still being 1st tier in nature, caught in its rejection of Orange, its distrust of Blue and its blindness to much of Red – sometimes rejecting or demonizing even the healthy ego, sometimes going into sympathy with the damaged ego of the ‘victim’ and sometimes thinking that all toxic Red will be healed if we simply provide enough love. That, of course depends on how ‘love’ is delivered. Love doesn’t mean giving whisky to the craving alcoholic. Love also requires the wisdom to set boundaries. . . . Green desires to give others the permission to be who they are and not to tell them who to be, but the flip-side weakness is to be inappropriately permissive.” ~ Jon Freeman
The spiritual leader at Green will likely define herself as being “heart-centered,” whereas the same person might have defined themselves as being more cerebral when in Orange. Another shift from Orange to Green values is a movement from the individualistic seeking of good to a more communal seeking of group intimacy. Spiritual communities centered at Orange will likely be larger, with a strong focus on prosperity, personal growth, and “church growth.” With the transition to Green, those become a strong focus on community, on connection, and on church closeness. Diversity will also move to the forefront as a key value as Green emerges.
As one transitions to Green, there is less focus on income levels and status, more focus on work as meaning and fulfillment. This often means a reduction in the level of giving per community member, as they change career focus from corporate to things like non-profits and smaller entrepreneurial efforts (becoming a massage therapist or life coach for example). Spiritual leaders are often asked for help from those dealing with a reduced or at least less regular income level.
The leadership model that works best at Traditionalist-Blue is authoritarian – like a monarch. At this communal vMEME level, the leader is representational of the overall authority (think of the pope as the direct descendant of St. Peter). People centered at Blue seek to obey the authority (the teaching and the teacher) and expect to be told what to do and when to do it. They will be very loyal.
At Modernist-Orange, an individualistic vMEME, we see the emergence of the
corporate-style, directive leader. Church becomes a business. There is still an authoritarian element present, but it is also important to help those in the community get what they are seeking, or the leader may not last long. In the Orange church there are lots of committees and status comes from where you are positioned in the leadership structure. Members centered at Orange will leave if their needs are not being met.
Postmodern-Green is also a communal vMEME. The difference is how authority is
viewed. Whereas Blue has absolutist values, Green is more relativistic. In fact, Green is willing to re-write the rules if they seem harsh or unfair. The leadership model that works best a Green is collaborative in nature. Green values include egalitarianism and the creation of a space where every voice is heard and honored. It is important at Green that feelings be considered – even above outcomes.
The healthy Green level spiritual leader:
- Must be a good facilitator
- An excellent listener.
- Keep her finger on the pulse of the community members – what will cause them to feel fulfilled?
- Value a healthy Blue structure of ethical behavior and best practices regarding operational aspects like employment issues and stewardship of funds.
- Be able to enforce appropriate boundaries while keeping peoples’ feelings in mind.
- Be able to have difficult conversations that may lead to others being disturbed or upset with the outcome or with the spiritual leader himself.
- Be able to facilitate entry into the community of those at other vMEME levels who may feel out of place.
And some cautions about Postmodern-Green leadership tendencies:
Generally speaking, no one gets fired in a Green-centered community unless the violation is so egregious that people are actually harmed by it. Green-centered leaders often have difficulty establishing and enforcing boundaries – including holding people accountable to agreements. Being perceived as harsh is often seen as a serious negative in a Green-centered spiritual community. Spiritual leaders must be excellent at explaining their actions from a heart-centered place, AND be willing to stand firm in defending and upholding ethical decisions.
So there are complexities to these levels of values systems as they show up in spiritual community. Cultural evolution is a reality, and one that is becoming increasingly important as time passes and the various vMEME levels arise and co-mingle more and more. It is a new form of diversity, one that we ignore at our peril.
Copyright 2016 – Jim Lockard