The notion of “leadership” seems to come up a lot these days, whether it’s in casual conversation, business discussions, the news, or politics. It’s a word that gets thrown around a lot, which got me to thinking that it’s probably not understood all that well … which would explain a lot!

Leadership is about getting results. Look around you. If results are the goal, what does that say about the presence of leaders in your life?

Enjoy this blog from 2012 and my experience with various leadership styles and approaches. Which do you favor? What do you think is most effective?

Leaders Come in Many Shapes and Sizes

(Originally Posted on May 30, 2012)

I recently blogged about how people learn and/or absorb messages in different ways—some are visual, others prefer content, while still others are auditory or even tactile. This got me to thinking that leading or managing often follows similar patterns, at least in terms of how people have different styles and approaches. I began to wonder which is the right approach, which is most effective?

King Monkey

King Monkey says “More Creativity, More Ideas, More Fun!”

During my career, I have encountered many different managers and leaders. Early on, most were my bosses; while these days many tend to be colleagues, friends, and even clients. Their personalities have ranged from mentor and coaching types—those who nurture and teach as a means to an end—to those that would just scare the heck out of you (yes, bosses like those depicted in The Devil Wears Prada do exist!).

They all seemed to want the same thing: RESULTS—usually in the form of success for their companies, themselves, and (to varying extents) their teams—but not all achieved their goals equally.

Each had different triggers that motivated them. Some strove for monetary reward, others for recognition and acceptance. Some were introverted or extroverted—some were LOUD and some were quiet—while most were somewhere in-between. Some thought with their left brains or right (and, in my humble opinion, a few used neither!). Some were people-oriented, some demanded their people take vacations to stay fresh and productive—and some didn’t care what had to be done or sacrificed personally to achieve company goals.

Regardless if I deemed their influence positive or negative, or whether I thought they were effective leaders and managers, each had an impact on me then as well as today.

As a leader and manager, I believe you can be results-oriented while remaining kind and compassionate. You don’t have to scream to be heard.  You can be . . .

  • Persuasive, but not overbearing
  • A good listener, but not a pushover
  • Passionate and focused, but not driven to the point of obsession
  • A hard worker who leads by example, but who also knows how to lighten up and have fun
  • A teacher who instructs, but does not simply tell everyone what to do
  • A human being who realizes that everyone makes mistakes (even you) and is willing/able to learn from those mistakes and pass that knowledge on to others.

To what kinds of leadership styles do you respond best? Does an iron fist motivate you to do your best work? Does someone who is loud and demanding spur you to do your best work? What about passion and focus, where do they fit into your leadership spectrum? What about qualities like integrity, compassion, empathy? Do they really help you lead better . . . and do they truly motivate your teams to perform at their peak?

As a leader, I believe we can all “lead” without jumping up and down on our desks. To be the King Monkey, I don’t need to pound my chest (nor do I want to).

What kind of leader are you? What kind of leader do aspire to be?

Share your thoughts here.