The third factor and authentic leadership

The authentic leader supports the development of the third factor in yourself and others

Are you a manager, coach or trainer? You probably often wonder what you could do to make your employees / clients / trainees want to engage? Do you want to become an authentic leader? If so, it is imperative that you activate / trigger the third factor in yourself and in those you support. Make the people you work with show their full potential, increase their motivation, improve their performance and the effectiveness of their goals!

When we observe people who excel in a particular way in their field, we will notice that the influence of a certain additional element that sets these people apart from others is apparent. It helps them to achieve above-average results. We find such people in business, sport, among artists, writers and even among politicians, journalists and in all other areas of human activity. The aforementioned element/factor, drives these people to go beyond their genetic conditioning, the environment in which they were raised, grew up and gained experience.

Factor three a key element of motivation

It often happens that other people play a big role in the progress on the chosen path, and it is usually these people who allow us to discover that secret factor we carry within ourselves. We can call it the third factor. It is such an element of motivation that is independent of genes and environment. At the same time, it is of vital importance wherever activities take place under considerable pressure and require precision, and where expectations of quality, efficiency and effectiveness are set very high.

When the third factor is triggered, it enables constructive work on one’s own attitude and competence, which promotes rapid development, facilitates self-control and a more accurate assessment of the environment in which the person is functioning. This fosters sound decision-making, the choice of an effective path of action and greater confidence in one’s ability to successfully complete the task undertaken.

The scientist who identified the third factor as the one that has a significant impact on the rate of action and development was a Pole – dr Kazimierz Dąbrowski (creator of the Positive Disintegration Theory and initiator of the Mental Hygiene movement). His theory was first adopted in psychotherapy, then in Gifted Education and creative environments, and, in terms of motivation, also in sport and business. The influence of Dabrowski’s work is most evident in the United States and Canada, where he spent a large part of his scientific and academic career. The groundbreaking importance of Kazimierz Dąbrowski’s findings can also be evidenced by the fact that Abraham Maslow invited him to work with him, but he declined, considering the concept of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to be too simplistic. He proved with many examples that the activation of higher-order needs is not dependent on the satisfaction of lower-order needs. With many examples, he proved that the opposite is often true and the lack of satisfaction of lower-order needs, discomfort and even various types of borderline, traumatic experiences activate attitudes and actions associated with higher-order needs and lead to a significant acceleration of development.

The third factor in business practice

The third factor as an effective element of intrinsic motivation, stimulating the gradual emergence of potential, has also been noted by Dr Peter Jensen, who, together with his team, has been successfully applying his knowledge of the third factor in the business environment for many years. He has taught managers of global corporations and coaches of outstanding athletes how to awaken their natural potential and unlock the third factor. Over many years of practice, Dr Jensen has refined a blueprint of effective actions a manager or coach can take who wants to raise the potential, motivation and commitment in the team or individuals they are responsible for.

Source: own elaboration based on Dr Peter Jensen’s template.

The main element in the structure of a manager or coach wanting to awaken the real potential in people is, of course, communication skills. This tool, used in the right way, helps press the buttons that will unleash authentic, though often dormant, energy.

Efficient communication is the means of expression for the five key characteristics of an authentic leader.
Key dimensions of factor three

The first is self-awareness, which allows you to see the potential in your charges and assist in bringing it to the surface. People will not achieve high results if they constantly have to adapt to the leader. A manager or trainer should continually improve his or her skills, broaden his or her knowledge and constantly confront the reality of the situation.

Another quality is the ability to build trust, which guarantees the relative security of the mentees as they take their first steps on their own authentic path.  The leader’s faith in the abilities of his or her mentees may initially exceed the faith of those he or she is trying to guide. Initially, therefore, these individuals follow the leader because of the trust he or she is able to build. This develops over time into a genuine belief in their own abilities, which is quickly reflected in the results.

The third element is the ability to use imagination to show the mentee what is possible to achieve, and this reinforces the process of building self-confidence. People are able to realise their full potential if they are able to see a picture beforehand of what they are supposed to be aiming for.

The fourth characteristic of an effective manager and coach is the ability to identify blockages in the people they work with and to help them take responsibility for overcoming obstacles that arise. Every new day, every project and task is an unknown. Pushing the boundaries of the familiar creates internal resistance, which can more or less effectively complicate effective action that ends in success.

The fifth expected trait is an awareness of the importance of emerging adversity. This can prove crucial in building the strength of your subordinates’ or mentees’ commitment to strengthening themselves and raising their performance. Learning how to manage adversity and focus on what is controllable is key in releasing the influence of the third factor on the effectiveness and efficiency of the activities undertaken and stepping into wider fields of activity.

Focusing on the development of the people the manager/coach/coach supports, while taking a hands-on approach to this task produces the best results – this is how authentic leadership works.


Author: Jacek Romański


Jacek Romański

Coach and trainer with several years of experience in business. He gained business experience as a manager and coordinator of marketing, strategic and IT projects in the industrial and commercial sector. He specialises in activities related to increasing individual and team effectiveness, personal development, self-regulation and self-control. She maintains a blog on personal and team effectiveness www.memoideo.com and a website dedicated to Positive Disintegration theory www.dezintegracja.pl. In cooperation with the Gdańsk Psychological Publishing House, he has translated Gabrielle Oettingen’s book entitled. “WOOP Effective Method of Achieving Goals”.