Taking a Holistic Look at The Motivation of Leaders and Teams Through the Four Quadrants.

Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love. .

-Lao Tzu

A few years ago, I had the chance to coach the CFO of an international organization in India during a project that covered many countries. The main theme we worked on was the relationship with his team (not his communication, I want to highlight this point), how to improve it and increase the teams influence within the organization. However, whenever the subject became about his inner world, he unwittingly guided the conversation toward the teams individual and collective attitudes and behavior.

Meeting Ken Wilber in Denver, Colorado in 2006 deeply affected my view of my coaching career and life experiences. As a mathematics engineer, I find being able to recognize cultural aspects (as much as I’m able) as well as systemic and holistic approaches, both individually and collectively, very valuable.

I’d like to share with you ICF ACTP certified I.C. Integral Coaching™ and I.L. Integral Leadership™ (intended for senior managers) which are both based on the All Quadrants approach and began in 2018 abroad and in 2020 in Turkey. Using this foundational method, I hope to contribute both to the motivation you provide and your leadership skills.

We don’t see the world as it is, we see it as we are.

-Anais Nin

The reactions and responses we unwittingly give to situations, events and people generally come from four main areas. If we pay attention to our discourse, we will notice that we often overutilize one of those areas.

The area which we use the most will unintentionally limit our views, thoughts, perspectives and actions. As a leader or leadership team, if we become aware of which area, we utilize the most, our personal lens will be broken and we’ll have the chance to look, think and act from other perspectives.

The subject will become easier to understand when we visualize it: (Figure-1)

The main message of the holistic perspective is this: These four quadrants exist in every situation we come across in personal and professional life. Each of them is important and valuable. In order to receive and provide leadership, the first area we need to focus on is the upper left quadrant (UL.)

Leaders who become cognizant of themselves in the “Self” section (UL) will observe their team more easily and realize that the value they provide to them has increased. The first step is obtaining self-knowledge. . After completing the most difficult step of self-reconciliation, you will approach your team with confidence and inclusivity.

A person’s language and attitude give clues about which quadrant they use the most. Language is an authentic reflection of the way a person sees themselves, others and the world as well as the way they form relationships. Leaders who attach importance to this point will easily understand which quadrant they and others lean toward by recognizing the language used, and perspective held by themselves and others.

Let’s look at a scenario to show the difference and give more detail; In this scenario, a group of four was requested to work on a project and it’s their first meeting. Each started by saying a few words about being a member of the team and the project. These are their comments:

The person from the Upper Left (UL): “I’m really excited to work on this project and to have creative freedom. The most important point for me in this project is to be given a space where I can easily express my ideas and thoughts.”

The person from the Upper Right (UR): “I feel very energized to be a part of such a challenging project where I can show my full performance. There’s a lot of work to do and so little time! Let’s dig in, learn what we need to do then start right away. I’ll prepare an action plan and write our to-do list.”

The person from the Lower Left (LL): “We all come from very different backgrounds and have unique talents so I can understand why the four of us were chosen for this project. It is vital for us to be on the same page and that we set a common purpose.”

The person from the Lower Right (LR): “Although we have limited time, the result will better affect our core business infrastructure. Our starting point should be to establish the structure that will lead us to our goals and to clarify the rules that we will all follow.”

These may be typical opening comments from four people in a meeting. Each comment shows the different objectives they have and reflects which quadrant they use more heavily. I think this will be a good point to take a look at the quadrant which affects each person’s perspective, and the lens or filter with which they see themselves and their surroundings.

If we elaborate these approaches, (Figure-2) we can come to understand the perspectives of leaders, teams, and organizations by their language and attitude. Then by including the less used areas, we can create the whole.


While the given example reflects what four people with different quadrant orientations may say, the quadrant an individual leans toward builds the landscape they see and hear at all times. This landscape is directly related to themselves, others and their surroundings. Imagine if a leader who sees the whole picture is able to analyze these ideas, perspectives, and methods at every meeting and step. Wouldn’t it be wonderful?

Speaking of inter-team relationships we all know that it’s becoming harder to increase performance and improve motivation with the expectation of immediate results and city life coupled with ever increasing stress levels.

It’s quite complicated to motivate teams during these times of crisis when they’re so focused inward, and yet it’s all the more critical. It’s paramount that you stand by your team and instead of seeing them as workhorses, remind them that you’re also a human being. It’s paramount that you stand by your team and instead of seeing them as workhorses, remind them that you’re also a human being.

It’s worth reminding that being polite and tactful in life is one of the most important resources as a leader.

Many people have become extremely tired of the quarantine and working from home. One of the obvious reasons for this is the online meetings which last from morning until night which managers set up in order to strengthen relationships. Does being so involved in their individuality and not recognizing boundaries equate to being motivational? What if I said that it was easy to remain in touch and warm the hearts of teams and stakeholders? When Mr. Ross has finished his project before the deadline, or Ms. Zane has gone through an intense week at work, we may be too far away to embrace them, but we can certainly send a “Thank you” bouquet or a box of chocolates expressing that we value them and that these days will soon pass. These are the types of behavior which will motivate them to come to work and strengthen the bond among the team. I’m sure that you’re already aware of these and have done them many times in the past. However, what I’d like to underline is finding a way to create permanence and turning positive behaviors into habits.

Now, lean back and envision this: You’re the general manager of a company with hundreds of millions of dollars of turnover which produces and sells both domestically and abroad. As you’re heading toward your 2020 goals, the entire world is hit with a pandemic. in the first quarter. Your first action was to take precautions to ensure the health and safety of your team and organization with disregard to official working hours. (and unless you’re a hundred years old, this is most likely the only pandemic you’ve been through.) Through this you’ve minimalized the damage, however the Chairman of the Board of Directors criticized you in front of your management team and other board members. After that, he kindly stated that he no longer wants you to act without his prior knowledge.

Now, take a deep breath, lean back and once again visualize this: You are the assistant general finance manager. During the pandemic, you handled your responsibilities quite well and supported your team. Your successful navigation through these times attracted the attention of Headhunters and you begin receiving back-to-back offers. One offer is your dream job and position, and you decide to leave your current job. As you’re about to leave one of the most vital positions within the organization during a pandemic, during your last week, the general manager set up a meeting for the entire executive board at 7:30 on a weekday. You unwillingly logged into the Zoom meeting and after ten minutes, the doorbells of all the participants began to ring. Once you open your door, you’re faced with a cheerful delivery person. He hands you a meal and a drink and as you return back to the meeting you realize that your general manager has organized a special send away dinner for you.

Here are two questions: Which leader would you like to work with? Which leader would you want to be? Which leader would you like to work with? Which leader would you want to be?