What is Second Tier Leadership?

The term “Second Tier” refers to the Integral Theory of Ken Wilber and the developmental Theory of Clare Graves (Spiral Dynamics).  If you have no idea about these theories I highly recommend you to first watch the first two video’s here.

Second Tier Leadership fully embraces some of the most important questions for leaders in our ever complexifying world.

My Second Tier Leadership framework is simple and complex at the same time, it defines 9 distinct attributes for a great leader and in my Workshops and Retreats, I work with leaders who want to go deeper into the understanding of what these attributes really mean and how they can be developed.

Developing these skills / attributes is enabling us to find answers to some of the pertinent questions every leader is faced with today:

  • How do we lead in the face of the complexity of our world?
  • How can we enable and encourage change and transformation in our teams in in ourselves?
  • How do we hold multiple perspectives and learn to not be crashed under the weight of almost unbearable contradictions?
  • Are we bold enough to stand up for our values and lead with passion and compassion towards a better future, for ourselves, our children and the world?
  • How can we empower people and how do we use our own power wisely?
  • How do we lead by honoring reality and each other’s perspective without losing sight of the potential for a higher synthesis?
  • How can we cultivate focus and clarity?

What are the core attributes of a great leader?


Second Tier Leaders are fully awake and focussed. Focus for them doesn’t mean to only see partial reality, but it means to be very intentional about everything they do and to always make  choices in alignment with their core intention. This creates an exciting pull towards the future that is rooted in the present.


“One comes from second tier like water spontaneously bursts from a deep, deep underground spring. There is outrageousness, gracefulness and creative awkwardness as one simultaneously discovers, learns to flow with, and find words for, the new material that spontaneously emerges from all four “quadrants” that often is a surprise. It is an out-of-the box blossoming not contained by today’s typical cultural creative thinking and being. ” (Wayne Carr)

empowering and empowered

“They can more fully feel, embody and celebrate their own power and sense of self-efficacy. This power can span the whole spectrum from bold and outrageous to soft and subtle. They can blend their powers hierarchically with the power of others in creative and collaborative ways. They can create an energetic wake that naturally brings people to act in line (entrain) with a common purpose.  They en-courage a dynamic balance of support and challenge that facilitates creative action.” Wayne Carr


Authenticity in Second Tier means much more than just “being yourself”. Authenticity in this context means to be the life process itself, to be a direct, unfiltered expression of the creative impulse, the perennial force that created the universe. The authentic Second Tier Leader is an expression of this creative impulse in human form and sees themselves as an integral part of a much bigger life process.


Second Tier Leaders understand all “Stages of Development” and have integrated these stages within themselves. This allows interaction with and reaction to people from different stages in a very integrative way, and people at all stages like working with them as they feel seen and understood.

facing reality as it is

Second Tier Leaders  focus on the present, on what IS. The present dictates the next steps towards the shared vision. They want to see reality as it is, in all its imperfection, to be able to draw the best conclusions. They don’t avoid difficult truths or complex problems. They don’t look away, consciously choosing to look into the darkest corners to not overlook something important that affects decision making and moving forward. They have a rational and  intuitive sense to perceive what is happening.


Second Tier Leaders are always looking for the next step to make things better, to change, to evolve. They do not shy away from change, but embrace it as a means to grow. Their goal is never stagnation, but constant evolutionary flow, improvement and transformation.


Second Tier Leaders are excellent listeners. They are able to completely suspend usual habits of reaction and judgment. They are listening not only to the words that are said, but even more to the space between, to consciousness itself, and by doing so get insights which are far beyond the rational mind.

trusting and trustworthy

First and foremost the Second Tier Leader trusts in life and the goodness of life. When he works with people, his natural inclination is to make people feel trusted and to show himself as trustworthy with high ethical and moral standards and by being a role model in his actions.


Finding Pragmatic solutions

You have a mangement challenge or a project that is not going well? I help you to find fast and pragmatic solutions.

Leadership Workshops

You are interested in Second Tier Leadership as a way to grow and develop? Let’s do a workshop and find out how this can look like in your company.


You’d like to practice Second Tier Leadership? I am happy to coach you or your teammembers through the first weeks or months to get you started.


You look for an exiting new topic for the Key – Note of your next conference? I’d be delighted to speak about Second Tier Leadership and give your audience an experience of its potential.

Contact me to find out more!

Whatever your needs and challenges are, contact me here  and I’ll call you back in 24 hours.