The Third Turn

Written by Dr. Mark L. Vincent & Kristin Evenson
The Third Turn Blog Header

The 3 Levels of Relationship

Posted by Mark L. Vincent on Oct 21, 2021 7:31:00 AM
Are you familiar with the 3 levels of relationship?
There are varied renditions. Design Group International often refers to Edgar Schein's articulation of the three levels. 
Level One: transactional, role-based relationships 
Level Two: open, safe, dependable, and working relationships
Level Three: intimate relationships 
One way I like to render these is as follows: 
Level One: "I see me and want you to see me." 
Level Two: "I see me and you and how we might function together."
Level Three: "I see us, and how we can do more because we are together."
This, of course, implies what we might all a Level Zero: "I see me (or, actually, perhaps I don't even see myself), and I do not see you."  Level Zero happens when a person snubs a conversation, quickly changes the subject when you are introduced so as not to need to meet you, or, even upon knowing you, decides to treat you as a stranger or enemy.
With these well-established relational levels in mind, we can lay the Three Turns of Executive Leadership beside them. 
  Level One Level Two Level Three
Turn One

See Me

Lead Self

Turn Two  

See You

Lead an Organization and Others

Turn Three    

See Us

Lead toward Future Value

Turn One- Learning to lead one's self. People are a thing by which work gets done.
Turn Two - Learning to lead people and an organization. If you and I accept responsibility and cooperate in our work. we will be effective together
Turn ThreeLearning to lead toward future value. Developing' opportunity for others to flourish through our work is an expression of love.
The journey across these levels and through the Three Turns is progressive and building. Perspective can deepen, and wisdom can grow.
When combined in a developing leader:
Level One coinciding with Turn One: I am reliable 
Level Two coinciding with Turn Two: I trust you enough to work together. 
Level Three coinciding with TurnThreeI choose to love you and for our work to contribute to the well-being of others.
This love that begins leaking out as the leader progresses toward Turn Three becomes the reason for being present. It becomes the principal value and an ethical guide as the executive leader becomes ever wiser.

Topics: Mark L. Vincent, Design Group International, executive develpment, Executive peer-based advising, relationship capital, relationship building, Maestro-level Leaders, The Third Turn, The Third Turn Podcast, Kristin Evenson

Mark & Kristin
The Third Turn

Blog Topics

See all

Subscribe to receive resources to help you and your organization grow and thrive.