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Four Essential Leadership Intelligences

Updated: Sep 25, 2022

By Workplace Peace Institute

Reimagining organizations by devising an innovative model that encourages productive, fulfilled, and engaged employees.

An organizational paradigm is the overarching approach to conducting business underlying all theories and methodologies that inform the way organizations operate, build culture, and sustain innovation and growth. While organizations are, generally, intentional about how they conduct business, build culture, and sustain innovation and growth, they are generally unaware of the underlying paradigm that informs it. This lack of intentionality at the paradigm level sets into motion an organizational system that serves as a silent engine fueling all other organizational activities. Because it is silent, and leadership at all levels remain unaware of it, the paradigm can be in contradiction to critical aspects of the business it is informing.

Most organizations function in the Red, Amber, and Orange Paradigms . At Workplace Peace Institute, we refer to these organizational paradigms as Newtonian Organizations because of the command and control structure they operate from, as well as the Newtonian principles that inform their organizational processes and leadership approach. These systems of coercion and dominance produce workplace cultures that suppress employee engagement and oppress productivity by failing to honor basic human needs such as acceptance of identity, cultural security, belonging, psychological safety, participation, and self-fulfillment. Ultimately, Newtonian Organizations are designed in such a way that dignity violations are embedded in corporate culture.

Red, Amber, and Orange paradigms operate as Newtonian Organizations

To increase employee engagement, organizations must create a paradigm shift, transitioning from the Red, Amber, and Orange paradigms into the Green, Turquoise, and Teal organizations. At Workplace Peace Institute, we refer to organizations operating in these paradigms as Quantum Organizations. Leaders in Quantum Organizations recognize that leadership is a relationship and that individual contributors will pour into the organization in equal measure to which leaders pour into them. This means that honoring dignity in the workplace must be at the core of the organization’s leadership approach.

Organizations operating in at the Green paradigm still have some functions of a Newtonian Organization. Turquoise and Teal paradigms operate as Quantum Organizations.

What Is Dignity?

A core requirement of experiencing dignity in the workplace is having one’s voice genuinely heard and the experience of having one’s authentic self fully embraced and honored.

Dignity in the workplace is our ability to experience our worth and value as contributors to the organization. Research conducted by Workplace Peace Institute found that a core requirement of experiencing dignity in the workplace is having one’s voice genuinely heard and the experience of having one’s authentic self fully embraced and honored.

The experience of having one’s voice heard empowers employees to act independently and autonomously.

Having one’s voice heard cultivates the necessary trust to develop and sustain employee engagement. To show up authentically and amplify one’s voice, there must be psychological safety in the workplace and employees, especially BIPOC of color and LGBTQIA+ employees, must experience their identity being fully embraced. The experience of having one’s voice heard empowers employees to act independently and autonomously. When this behavior is acknowledged and affirmed, employees are motivated, and engagement becomes self-perpetuating.

The Four Leadership Intelligences

Cultivating dignity in the workplace requires that leaders are proficient in four core leadership intelligences: Social Intelligence, Emotional Intelligence, Dignity Intelligence, and Cultural Intelligence.

Social Intelligence

Social intelligence is the capacity to proficiently understand human behavior and inspire positive change in others. It is the ability to know oneself and to know others by leveraging learnings from previous successes and failures. Leaders with high social intelligence are highly effective communicators who have proficient active listening skills. They understand human emotions and welcome them as a core aspect of the human condition. They are aware of social norms and understand the impact their own behavior has on others. Highly socially intelligent leaders inspire confidence and trust.

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is the ability to be aware of and identify one’s own emotions and to be able to differentiate them from feelings. Emotionally intelligent leaders can harness their own emotions and feelings, apply those emotions to cognition and problem-solving, as well as manage emotions, including the ability to regulate one’s own emotions and the ability to regulate emotions in others. This requires a basic understanding of neuroscience and the ability to apply that understanding in real-world situations.

Dignity Intelligence

Dignity Intelligence is the ability to be connected to one’s own inherent worth and value, connected to the inherent worth and value of others, and to align leadership behavior and values to something greater than oneself. Leaders with high dignity intelligence recognize the interconnected and interrelated structure of reality, which manifests in their focus and attention to interpersonal relationships.

Cultural Intelligence

Cultural Intelligence refers to the ability to relate and work effectively in culturally diverse situations. Culturally intelligent leaders can cross cultural boundaries respectfully and thrive in multiple cultures. They recognize the value of culturally diverse teams and are intentional about fostering a culturally diverse workforce. Cultural intelligence transcends a person’s existing knowledge of cultural sensitivity and awareness by illuminating certain skillsets and capabilities necessary to achieve defined objectives in culturally diverse situations.

Essentially, new paradigm leaders operating in Quantum Organizations must be proficient in the dynamics of human behavior. These four leadership intelligences are the foundational characteristics of new paradigm leaders. With proficiency in these four areas, leaders will more successfully honor basic human needs and dignity needs, and therefore bring out the best in others, resulting in a highly engaged workforce.

Workplace Peace Institute Leadership Academy provides leaders with the knowledge of human behavior, communication skills, and conflict resolution competencies to create highly engaged workplaces where dignity is consistently honored. If you are ready to reimagine your workplace, contact Workplace Peace Institute today for a complimentary consultation.


Workplace Peace Institute is an organizational systems design and research firm that brings a holistic and multidisciplinary approach to organizational development. We support small to mid-sized businesses in optimizing employee engagement, maximizing organizational productivity, and improving profitability by infusing human security and dignity as foundational attributes of their business model.


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