Four-Dimensional Leadership



“You will never feel truly satisfied by work until you are satisfied by life.” – Heather Schuck, The Working Mom Manifesto

Have you ever given your all so much in one area of your life, that other areas your life suffer?  You can balance yourself better when you know what areas to deliberately invest in.

Enter Four-Dimensional Leadership.

The four areas are: personal, family, business, and community.

Operate at a Higher Level

By investing in these four areas, each area gets stronger, and you operate at a higher-level

You can’t lead others if you don’t lead yourself first. 

Leadership is a powerful tool and you amplify your impact when you invest your energy in yourself, your family, your business, and your community.

The whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts, and in this case, the whole is holistic leadership.

In Squirrels, Boats, and Thoroughbreds, Jamie Gerdsen shares his experience with Four-Dimensional Leadership.

Gerdsen was first exposed to Four-Dimensional Leadership at the EO Leadership Academy.  He was immediately captivated by the concept of Four-Dimensional Leadership and tried to put it into practice.

Holistic Leadership Makes You Stronger

You get better in each area, by working on all four areas.

Gerdsen writes:

“It’s harder than you might think.  In fact, after three years, it’s still a work in progress for me.  I want to share it with you because I’ve found as I work at holistic leadership, it makes me stronger in each individual area.”

You’re Not Even Operating at 50 Percent Capacity

If you’re not investing in all four areas across the board, then you’re not operating at your full potential.

Gerdsen writes:

“I believe holistic leadership is something you never quite master.  I thought I was getting really good at it and my mentor at EO brought me right back down to Earth saying, ‘You’re not even operating at 50 percent capacity.'”

The Problem is When the Four Dimensions are Out of Balance

Giving your all in one area, puts you out of balance with the rest.

Gerdsen writes:

“What? How could that be? I was putting in hundred-hour weeks.  I was a banshee at the office.  You couldn’t find anybody who worked harder.
And that was the problem.

I was using 100 percent of my business capacity, but only 10 percent of my personal capacity, 10 percent of my family capacity, and a woeful 5 percent of my community capacity.”

100 Percent in All Four Areas

Giving 100 percent to all four areas is the key to four-dimensional leadership.

Gerdsen writes:

“’Grasshopper,’ my mentor intoned, ‘you will not be fully four-dimensional until you are at 100 percent in all four areas.’  My problem I quickly learned was the way I’d organized my life.”

Practicing Four-Dimensional Leadership Skills

Gerdsen provides some concrete examples of how you can think about, develop, and practice your Four-Dimensional Leadership skills:


  • Learning skills: What skill sets do you need in order to be successful? What do you need to invest in yourself to be a better person? How can you apply these skills to being a leader?
  • Goal setting: How do you set goals? How do you hold yourself personally accountable for your actions? What are your goals for one year? Three years? Five years?
  • Communication skills: How can you be more articulate? How can you become a more active listener?


  • Spouse: How can you be more attentive and nurturing to your spouse? How can your spouse realize his or her hopes and dreams?
  • Children: How can you develop positive parenting skills? How can you be a role model and help your children grow to be responsible adults?
  • Parents and siblings: How can you show your support to the members of your extended family? Are there any steps you can take to stay in the know about their lives and concerns?


  • Stewardship: How can you run a more purposeful business? What are your priorities within the company? What are your responsibilities to the company, to yourself, and to your employees?
  • Business basics: What are the skills you need to make your business more profitable? What are the skills you need to make it a more nurturing workplace? How can you make the company both people and profit directed?


  • Involvement: How can you take an active role in a community? What are your obligations? How should you set goals for yourself in terms of making a difference?
  • Pay it forward: How do you use what you’ve learned to empower other community members? How can you become a mentor to them?

Just like a muscle, when you take on more, you can handle more.   Areas in your life get easier, because you grow stronger.  When one area of your life suffers, other areas of your life help compensate.   But, only if you invest in them.

As you build your leadership platform, learn how to operate at a higher level,.   Continue to grow your capabilities as you respond to challenges, and lead yourself from the inside out.

That’s how you hit your high notes.

You Might Also Like

12 Traits of a Great Leader

To Grow, Stay Uncomfortable

Personal Leadership is a Choice

Image by Babak Fakhamzadeh.