Posted by: David D. Daggett | September 29, 2008

Elementary Leadership

Elementary Leadership

      We recently attended a parents’ night at our kids’ school – actually, we went three times! To me, the most interesting part was a speech on developing children to reach their full potential. Perhaps the lessons apply to all of our organizations, pursuits, and even athletic performance. This past week with all the news regarding the financial markets, these principles may apply there too!

     The presentation was artfully targeted to urge appropriate parenting leadership, which also seems to apply to leadership in general. The principles included a balance of nurture, structure, and latitude. Providing all three pribciples becomes a difficult commitment in the face of challenges in our fast paced world but are essential for success.

Nurture includes the desire of all people to be wanted and loved. Nurture is essential to give individuals a sense of belonging. Nurture is developed by showing love and respect, both directly and by example. This is an essential aspect in creating healthy people, organizations, and satisfying lives.

Structure is the framework and expectations people have for their pursuits, responsibilities and ventures. Structure includes rules and guidelines that are required to be followed. It also includes process management protocols, as well as behavioral standards. Over time, structure becomes the values and culture of our organizations, and is reflected in all we do.

Latitude is the freedom within the structure to use judgement to experiment and learn. Within this latitude there will be failures and setbacks. These are the areas for more growth and learning. If there are appropriate nurture and structure then the learning and growth are appreciated, accepted and raise performance to higher levels.

Authoritative leadership within these three levels provides the best opportunities for future successes. These principles develop “Indicators for Success” which we will explore further in coming weeks. Virtually every neurodevelopmental and psychological study supports these notions as building blocks for success.

Balance between nurture, structure, and latitude is important. With the latest investment bank debacles it appears that the balance between structure and latitude were out of wack. Perhaps a few lessons in elementary leadership would benefit our political and financial leaders.

Let’s learn our lessons,



  1. […] Optimism as a trait is part nature, part nurture, and part a conscious decision. In Elementary Leadership we discussed how development during of informative years can influence whether we become healthy […]

  2. […] Resiliency is developed through latitude, a leadership principal we discussed in Elementary Leadership. We develop resiliency when we have the latitude to take chances and make mistakes. As long as we […]

  3. […] Frequently our generation questions the work ethic in the upcoming generations. Our articles on Elementary Leadership and Indicators of Success made me curious about work […]

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