It would be nice if leadership followed a formula. There would be more consistency across an organization. 1+1=2, if they do this, do that in response, and then this will be the result.
It’s not a formula. Leadership is an art, and everyone has their style.
The shift that follows mine is rigid. The leaders draw the picture, pick the colors, and makes sure everyone colors in between the lines by always looking over their shoulders.
The shift before mine is easier-going. They’ll scribble the picture, toss the crayons into the middle of the floor for the workers to choose, and just make sure they’re staying inside the lines.
My shift is maybe the most relaxed, though it’s debatable. I’ll draw the picture and pick the colors, and then let the team color it however they want within reason.
I may be too lenient because I can quickly turn into a control freak. Swinging the other way is my exaggerated response to that. Which is why I like Dichotomy of Leadership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. It’s as close to formulaic as I can find. I’d even say it’s required reading for anyone hired into a supervisory role.
Dichotomy of Leadership
It’s about finding a balance in leadership. With chapters like:
- Own It All, but Empower Others
- Resolute, but Not Overbearing (convicting)
- When To Mentor, When To Fire (a favorite)
- Aggressive, not Reckless (convicting)
- Disciplined, not Rigid (be flexible but hold the standard)
- Hold People Accountable, but Don’t Hold Their Hands (very helpful)
- A Leader and A Follower (I don’t have all the answers or the best answer at times)
- Plan, but Don’t over plan
- Humble, not Passive (when to push back and how)
- Focused, but Detached (a favorite)
I’m already putting it into practice. It’s hard to balance the business goals with the people at times, especially when navigating the ship through stormy seas.
You have a job to do, a quota to meet; however, people aren’t machines. They have to work hard, but you can’t run them into the ground either. Especially when you have a hard time keeping people.
How To Keep People?
A way to account for the human element, I learned this from the Demonstrating God’s Presence in Business devotional on the Bible App.
“As a Kingdom entrepreneur, you have the ability to set atmospheres and shift undesirable atmospheres. You don’t simply measure the temperature like a thermometer, you impact it like a thermostat!
You can create an atmosphere that ushers in the presence and the peace of God; unspeakable peace that those who walk into the room and don’t know the love of Christ don’t even understand. They simply think to themselves “There’s something different about this place” or “It’s so peaceful here” or perhaps they don’t think anything at all, but their spirit responds to His presence which creates a desirable experience while doing business with you. You never know when someone who was having a terrible day or is going through a very challenging season of life will be impacted by even 5-10 minutes of God’s peace in your establishment.
If you’re hosting an event, you can set the atmosphere in that room before the attendees ever show up. If you spend time on the phones with clients, you can set the atmosphere for your call prior to picking up the phone. If you have a business meeting, you can set the atmosphere for that meeting before it even begins.
You can set the atmosphere through prayer, praise, worship (with or without music), and/or declaring the word of God. Remember that when you draw near to God, He draws near to you. He is drawn to your heart towards Him.
You can also shift atmospheres from undesirable to desirable. Did someone walk in the room with a negative attitude before an important meeting was about to begin? Shift the atmosphere! Did you enter someone else’s business where the air was so thick and heavy? Shift the atmosphere! It doesn’t have to be loud or obvious to anyone else — just shift it!”
I’ve started putting some of these into action. In my office at work, I have a YouTube video playing hymns played on a piano. I’m praying more about and for work. Circling the building seven times is up for debate. I don’t want it to fall down (Joshua 5:13-6:27).
Leadership is an artistic balancing act. People will follow who they believe in and quit those they don’t. I’ll end by paraphrasing and combining quotes from Seth Godin and John Maxwell.
Every employee is a volunteer, and if you can lead volunteers, you can lead anyone.