Gardner’s Five Minds for a Global Leader


Honing personal leadership skills should be accompanied by an objective assessment of individual capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Such an analysis may help determine certain key areas for professional growth and identify the most optimal ways of self-development. As an evaluation tool, the algorithm called Gardner’s Five Minds can be taken. Reviewing the elements forming the basis of this scheme will help determine personal qualities and areas for growth, as well as provide an opportunity to consider the significance of this methodology for global leadership practice. This concept is a relevant system that creates the conditions for introspection and concentration on the most crucial aspects of professional development.

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Meaning of Each of Gardner’s Five Minds

One of the main ideas that are contained in this concept is forming an alternative vision of the modern educational system, along with its critique. Pava (2008) explains the five minds presented by Gardner and analyzes the explanations that the concept creator provides. The author notes that the theory consists of five fundamental principles – “disciplined, synthesizing, creating, respectful, and ethical minds” (Pava, 2008, p. 285). Regarding the first component, a disciplined approach involves maintaining the basic conditions for vocational training and professionals in a specific sphere. Synthesizing means the rational use of existing methodologies and approaches to ensure optimal learning conditions. Creating as a component of the concept means building a clear and thought-out algorithm of activities with uncovering new problems. A respectful mind implies observing the necessary principles of interaction in the educational environment to maintain the basic norms of communication. Finally, an ethical component is essential so that any employee could fulfill his or her duties responsibly. All these minds are conditions for productive and successful educational practice.

Personal Level of Competence

Regarding each of the minds presented in this concept, my experience is sufficient to draw conclusions about personal competencies. For instance, concerning a disciplined component, I have knowledge in a certain field, which may allow me to self-develop professionally. Regarding a synthesizing element, I have already managed to combine skills in research. Also, I have developed the mind of creating while working with colleagues in a scholarly community. This practice, as Ratcliffe and Ratcliffe (2015) remark, promotes an effective educational process. In relation to a respectful mind, I have always shown tolerance and an understanding of cultural differences among people. Finally, with regard to an ethical component, I have never sought to evade responsibility and realized all the tasks diligently.

When assessing personal strengths and weaknesses, I can note that my knowledge and skills may be enough to develop leadership skills, but some areas deserve particular attention. For instance, I should concentrate on a disciplined mind because continuous training is the key to high competence. Also, the elements of synthesizing and creating are not my strengths since, in order to combine skills and work on problem-solving and proving hypotheses successfully, it is essential to have much experience. However, my respectful and ethical minds are sufficiently strong to interact with people successfully and create a productive work environment.

In order to refine my current five minds, I should focus more on the first three components. According to Ratcliffe and Ratcliffe (2015), “improving the conscious use of the future in the present demands the discipline of anticipation” (p. 4). This means that in addition to aspiration, it is crucial to exert efforts to hone skills, including both enhancing theoretical knowledge and practical training. Spending more time in collaboration with highly qualified specialists will give me an opportunity to adopt experience and learn to combine the existing approaches and methodologies to advance specific ideas and fit the image of an effective leader.

Importance of Gardner’s Five Minds for a Global Leader

Gardner’s concept under consideration is of global relevance due to its functionality. One of the presented minds is creativity and Germaine, Richards, Koeller, and Schubert-Irastorza (2016) state that this feature is “the number-1 leadership competency of the future” (p. 26). It is also essential to take into account other components of the theory, which can contribute to expanding individual competencies and engaging a large number of available resources to create optimal working conditions. Global leaders looking ahead to the future realize that any work environment requires efforts and innovative approaches to interacting with colleagues due to constantly changing trends and labor conditions. In this regard, the considered minds are valuable components of productive management practice and may help expand professional leadership opportunities.


The concept called Garner’s Five Minds is a successful and relevant technique for analyzing personal leadership skills and improving approaches to working in a dynamic environment. The components of this theory cover different areas of professional activity and imply not only working but also cultural aspects of interaction. Regarding my individual experience, strengths, and weaknesses, the first three minds – disciplined, synthesizing, and creating – deserve particular attention due to their complexity. At the same time, I am well aware of the respectful and ethical components. For global leadership, this concept is a successful methodology that encourages the development of valuable skills in an ever-changing environment.

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Germaine, R., Richards, J., Koeller, M., & Schubert-Irastorza, C. (2016). Purposeful use of 21st century skills in higher education. Journal of Research in Innovative Teaching, 9(1), 19-29.

Pava, M. L. (2008). ‘Loving the distance between them:’ Thinking beyond Howard Gardner’s “Five minds for the future.” Journal of Business Ethics, 83(2), 285-296. Web.

Ratcliffe, J., & Ratcliffe, L. (2015). Anticipatory leadership and strategic foresight: Five ‘linked literacies.’ Journal of Futures Studies, 20(1), 1-18. Web.

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