Are You a Cohesive Leader?

You will go through a journey of ten reflections. Be honest with yourself. A family business system requires a set of unique ingredients and different types of leaders to be successful and enduring. Discover how you play your role!

Question 1.

When facing an acute crisis that is about to explode in our face, I prefer to listen to the different points of view around rather than make an immediate decision.

Question 2.

When we are happily engaged in a creative brainstorming session as a team and have found our solutions, I still feel the need to integrate the quiet ones into the discussion in order for them to share their points of view.

Question 3.

I believe actively listening to my peers and significant others' problems and concerns can help me better connect with them individually and as a group.

Question 4.

I am always the first one in my surroundings to find out about, and to acknowledge some of the hesitations, concerns, sources of stress and fears of my peers, and to compare them with mine.

Question 5.

On an average day, when searching to solve problems with my peers, I tend to listen more than I speak.

Question 6.

I want us to integrate all elements of the situation in our thinking before we make a decision.

Question 7.

I like to project everyone in my mind in five to ten years time when we discuss today's important decisions among ourselves.

Question 8.

My main concern in making decisions today is to know what we are leaving as a legacy for the future.

Question 9.

Some believe in top talent attraction and nurturing, but I believe in making the most of each individual around.

Question 10.

One of my key beliefs is that with each rain drop, you build a lake.

Click on the circle that best corresponds to your answer.

Leadership cohesion is about the ability to lead with a group and for a group, in an efficient and effective manner that binds the individual members to the group and makes them proactive members of that group. In a family business system there are business leaders, but also family leaders who often keep the system glued together around family enterprise and legacy, within and across generations.

Answers to the test fall into three categories:

  • A. Not likely to be a cohesive leader
  • B. Some attributes of a cohesive leader
  • C. Likely to be a cohesive leader
The way you answered the questions would reflect: Category A Category B Category C

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About business and family leadership with Professor John Davis (3 min)

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Cohesive Leadership and Enterprising Families

The concept of leadership cohesion is well suited for family business systems, and most specifically relates to the proactive, effective role played by a family leader.

A family leader is typically a person who views himself or herself as a constructive force in support of, and at the service of, others. Within a family business system, the family leader works in an intentional manner, both in anticipating future problems that the family may face, and in planting the seeds for a support system to deal with future problems. The family leader’s primary concerns are the harmony and well being of the family community, with consideration for individual family members’ needs and the system as a whole.

Family leaders encourage and support others to leverage their own competencies and potential, while trying to help maintain overall balance in the system. Typical attributes of a family leader include:

  • listening skills,
  • empathy,
  • healing ability,
  • awareness and self-awareness,
  • communication effectiveness,
  • family system thinking,
  • foresight,
  • stewardship,
  • commitment to the growth of others, and
  • community building.


Of course, family leaders will not always be successful and skillful in each of these aspects every time. After all, they are only human. But they do possess a number of distinct qualities and passions.

Cohesive leaders encourage and support others to leverage their competencies and potential, while trying to help maintain overall balance in the system.

Remember that one of the key success factors to enduring enterprising families is to proactively identify and raise awareness of the cohesive leader(s) in the system, and to celebrate the tremendous work they are doing in the back scene to keep people together. Their personality and disposition may be such that they aren't looking to be thanked for what they do, they only find it normal to do it. But everyone appreciates gratitude.

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