Adult Development and Typological Look-Alikes

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For many years, I scoffed at the idea of stages of adult development as being artificial and somewhat arrogant, as if one who is more developed is better than others at earlier stages. I observed development in the physical realm and these did not bother me in the same way as in the psychological/personality realm.

In the Jungian typology model, there are several views of type development and I had found one of these to be very useful. The Jungian model says that we have four mental processes—Sensing, intuiting, Thinking, Feeling—and each of these processes can be used in either the outer world or the inner world. Thus the popular 4-letter personality type code derived from the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® assessment stands for a pattern of these processes. We all have access to all eight (the four in either the extraverted or introverted attitude. And type development theory says one of these processes is dominant and trusted most and therefore is more developed, playing a leading role in our personalities. Another plays a supporting role (auxiliary) and is also fairly well developed by young adulthood. There is also a tertiary process, which emerges in young adulthood and an inferior process, which we may develop in later life. This approach seems safer and yet uniqe to each individual.

For the past few years I’ve been slowing learning about a developmental model called the Leadership Maturity Framework (LMF) developed by Susanne Cook-Greuter. Workshop participants trained in both the LMF and the Interstrength® Method have noted some seductive similarities between temperament patterns as they are described in the literature and some of the developmental levels.

My response was ‘How could that be?’ It seemed to me that that would make some of the temperaments automatically more mature than others. So, nothing for it, I now have to learn this developmental model. Here is how it is described in their workshop flyer:

“The LMF describes nine stages of leadership development of increasing levels of complexity and integration. Each stage is generally more effective, flexible, and insightful than the previous one. The LMF also identifies the strengths and vulnerabilities of each stage. Extensively researched and validated, it describes what promotes and impedes growth at each successive stage…. It defines nine levels of adult meaning making and emergence. The LMF makes the most subtle and explicit distinctions at the high-end of the developmental trajectory, and includes ego transcendent perspectives.”

I had the opportunity to spend some time with Susanne and discovered that her approach did not have the weakness the other developmental models did. In her use of the LMF each individual is right where he or she needs to be. The LMF is not there to make people feel like they need to be somewhere else.

She and I agreed that we need to explore this idea of what different developmental levels of each type would look like. We agreed that most descriptions are written in the language of the majority of the population and may not work as well for different levels of development. We also agreed that there might be some patterns in the LMF that look like versions of some of the temperaments.

I strongly feel that type practitioners need to understand at least a little about other models that may have such a similar look to them that the individuals trying to self-select or report on an instrument will have a hard time. In other words, there will be error somewhere in the process—either the assessment used or the self-discovery process.

If you want more information you can go to where there a several excellent articles.

Please post your thoughts or comments about developmental models.