Styles of Leadership
So, let's talk about now styles of leadership. These are sort of, we're still in mindsets of leadership so I'm giving you more tools, okay? So, the first one is, there's kind of two poles. We talked about being a Taoist. So, if it's a spectrum, what's on one end of the spectrum, what's on the other end of the spectrum? So, on one end of the spectrum is dominant leadership. So, the idea here is, sort of like, did you lead by presenting a plan and using your authority to insist that others follow along. So, it's like, being assertive, using one's formal power. And people sort of often have to follow you. There's not a lot of choice on that. And this can work really well when you need to coordinate a lot of people around like a very clear vision and goal. The vision and goal is very clear and we need to like corral marketing, and customer service, and, you know, product team, and the technical folks. We just need to bring everyone together. You might need someone who's really focused. Tha...
t's sort of like the Apple model, right? We have one product, we're tryin' to get all these different cross-functional groups around this one, clean simple launch, and then you have Steve Jobs come in with that more dominant style. Another time is if you're in, like there's chaos happening. There's a big re-org or something's happening, you might need a leader that comes in and has to make tough decisions without worrying what people think. We're not gonna do that, we're not gonna do that, we're closing that department, we're bringing this department, we're reorganizing. Someone that can really, boom, do that. So, this one is one that can be abused... but it can also be underused, especially by nice people. They're afraid to step into that more dominant place of this is what we need you to do, this is what I need you to do, this is what we're doing. So, if that's you, be thinking about how could dominant leadership, we're gonna do an exercise in a minute that's gonna help us think through how to apply one of these leadership styles to something important. So, that's sort of like the one end, this is like the classic king. And then we have prestige leadership. So, this is sort of like explaining what the best course of action is and allowing others to willfully get on board. So, it's like, this is like displaying one's knowledge or expertise. You could sort of like, you might be influential, tell the right story, get people inspired or motivated. Even maybe soliciting people's ideas to help contribute, right, to where we're going. This is sort of like the fuzzier one. It's a little bit nicer and easier, well not easier in terms of performance but, if this one is effective in that moment, it feels better sometimes, is more what I mean. Neither of them are necessarily easy or hard depending on the situation. So, the key here, and what I want you to think about is, both styles work. It's not be one or be another, so be a Taoist, right. Where is the balance point for you? When do we want to draw from Yin, when do we want to draw from Yang? And they're better for different situations. So, start be thinking like what is going on in my world where I could, I might want to use one or the other. And, they both have consequences. The idea being that if you're using dominant leadership, over-using it, people might want to like, peace out and quit. Or, it might work in the short term but people get burned out and it stops working. People also sometimes with dominant leadership they won't be as creative. You're not gonna get as many ideas sometimes from people or as much contribution. But, on the prestige side, there could be a little bit of disorder or chaos that comes from that if you're over-using it. A little too loosey-goosey, not enough order and tightness. So, there are consequences to each. So, you can start thinking about what outcomes am I getting and what inputs am I putting in to kind of get there. So, here's the exercise. For people online and for people in the room, think of a leadership challenge you are currently having. So, somewhere in your world, this isn't so easy. We talked earlier about maybe there's a person who complains too much that might be one of the leadership challenges. Could be something else, major project coming up. I want you to write that down. Just be one or two words that triggers your memory. Now, I want you to think about from what I described with dominant and prestige, which style are you least comfortable using? What's the one that makes you like feel uncomfortable? And now, how could you apply that style to that challenge? So, I'm just gonna give you like 15 seconds to sort of reflect on that, and then you can talk it out with me. So, just bullet point, and we're gonna share a little bit about what we might be able to do. Again, online, please write in to Chris if you have sort of an example we can talk through. It's your time, gonna get more value if you share and get coached. Does anyone have one to start us off?
Yeah, I feel like the biggest challenge for me right now is herding cats around a single vision. Basically, during planning process everyone has a bunch of ideas, everyone's running around, doing their own thing and, yeah, we definitely need to bring them together behind a more consolidated and... you know, unique vision.
Yeah, so rallying people around a clear vision and executing. So then what style might be useful for you, that you're less comfortable with?
Yeah, I think that the one that's least comfortable for me is the dominant style, obviously.
Well, and, you're just, you're a, you can tell you're energy's warm, you wanna like connect with people, right, so that's why it's so, it's the harder one for you, and it sounds like it's the one that applies so directly to the thing. What do you think you could, how could dominant help you, or how could you apply dominant style effectively?
I think that if you just give people the space the ideas are gonna keep flowing. You need to, you know you start the process expanding but you need to bring it back to, okay thanks for the ideas let's figure out the action plan here. And, I think a more dominant style at that point comes in handy when you need to get people, yes,
Yeah, so it's kinda that flair model people talk, right. So, the flair means you're starting here at the beginning with nothing, we flair out to get ideas, let people be creative, and then we need to come back down to a point of what are we actually gonna do. So, that makes sense. So, for you I want to go one level deeper. What for you is the resistance or challenge? What do you need to do differently to actually step into that space? If you think about like what pattern you've been exemplifying and what you want to shift.
I think that... it is a little bit about... forceful is not the word, but being a little more assertive about, you know, okay, I'm here for a reason and, you know, I need to make a decision around how we're going to operate.
So, here's what I teach people, that's great, thank you for getting there. So people that are like us, I'm a very friendly person, connected person, people pleaser. I try, I teach my leaders to be clear up front with what we need to have happen. Here's what I'm asking from you. Here's what I need you to do. Here's what we're doing. Be as clear and to the point as possible. Don't have coded language, don't talk around it, get right to the point, be as thorough as you need to to really let them know what they're doing, but do the clarity part and the directness up front, and then add in the intention piece or the context on the back end. Because what people like us tend to do is we want to give all the context up front to soften the blow or soften the conversation. It's like a pillow, we're just like, here, and so we're thinking about this, and if you could, and it's all this like maybe and just and if we, and here's what I'm thinking. And people get lost in there, like what are we talking about. So, what I'd rather you do is give a little bit of like a ooh to someone. It's direct and they might feel a little, okay that's really clear. And for you, if it's new, oh, that's a little different he doesn't normally talk like that. Do that first and then say, and the context behind that is this, or my intention in doing that is this. You know, I need you, it's like, hey, I'm gonna need you to work on this part of the project and we're gonna have it completed in two weeks. I wanna do three milestone check-ins on this Thursday, next Monday and next Thursday leading up to that, each for 45 minutes. I'll put them on your calendar, or you can have them put it on your calendar, and what I really want is to have the quality standards up to this level like the previous project that was really successful that we did. So, that's what I'm asking from you. And the reason I'm really making this so clear is I think we've done such a great job of figuring out what are the best ideas and now it's time for us to really focus and have that structure for all of us to work inside of to be successful. Something like that, right. That's kind of what it sounds like. How does that sound to you?
It sounds appropriate.
Yeah (laughing), good, good answer. Even though inside he was shaking his head no. Fantastic. Anyone else have one? Actually, you know what, let's stay with that and we're gonna keep moving. But, that was a great example of one. Hopefully for you, you have one and you think about that. When we think about coaching, think about the high level, okay I need to use prestige or dominant, okay and I kind of need to use them this way, but then go to that level of like what am I actually doing in the moment that I need to shift. I need to speak to this person. I need to speak in this way. I need to take a different action. So, from a mindset standpoint, you wanna edit your mindset. These are sort of the big ideas from this section. Edit your mindset. Wherever it was, we're just tweaking it. Tailor your style to the environment. And the point being here, it's not gonna be one size fits all, things change, they're fluid moment to moment. Things are dynamic and dynamics are dynamic. What the dynamic is now will not be the dynamic later. Diagnose and know your tendencies. This is, we're gonna take this through the whole course. Be thinking of like a doctor giving yourself a check-up as we go all the way through. And, what this is really about is not changing who you are, it's about expanding your range. Whatever you're really good at now, those are gonna be your super powers going forward. We just wanna give you more range, right. So, if our range is here now, we wanna extend this side a little bit and that side a little bit, and now we have more at our disposal.