Who Do You Think You Are?

Culture, Power, and Personal Development at Work

Photo of Bill Torbert
Bill Torbert »
Leadership Professor Emeritus at Boston College, Co-Founder at Global Leadership Associates

Bill Torbert talks stages of personal growth, eight types of power, the real purpose of development, and his newest book, Numbskull in the Theatre of Inquiry: Transforming Self, Friends, Organizations, and Social Science.




Stages Of Personal Development

People and organizations develop through a series of stages in which different values, competencies, and areas of focus emerge. Bill Torbert's theory, supported by empirical research from thousands of interviews, lays out seven stages of development.

Eight Types Of Power

Bill introduces the idea of eight types of power that align with the stages of personal development. At earlier stages of development, people and organizations tend to use power coercively. At later stages, power is used for mutual benefit.

The Secret To Building Group Dynamics

Adjusting course as a team depends on the free flow of feedback among group members. Bill reflects on what leaders need to pay attention to in order to course correct well.

Big 'I' and Little 'i' Innovation

Innovations in human development lag compared to technological gains. Rising interest in leadership development is starting to turn this tide.

The Real Purpose Of Development

Bill discusses the long-term benefits of individual and organizational development.

Subordinate, Superior, and Peer Cultures

We tend to see ourselves as subordinate, superior, or equal to other people in our surroundings. Intentionally building a peer culture tends to be both most beneficial and most challenging.