A Tale of Two Leaders ⁉️
Sep 09, 2022 2:01 pm
A few quick updates here before I get into the main topic of my email. First, I should have the second article in my team-building series up later today. Next, some of you have asked about that second business we started which was operating vending machines. We have our first account and have the machine placed, and it is profitable. So we're pretty excited and are ready to find our next account. One last thing is I completed my first honey harvest from my bees this past week, and it was a sticky and fun mess.
I'm going to go through two interactions I've had with leaders as a way to highlight common leadership styles. Both have strengths and weaknesses.
A leader approached me and asked me if I could help them out. They were curious about my current workload, but I assured them I could help them. They then said they had three tasks for me to accomplish and worked through each one, and gave a deadline for each. I asked some clarifying questions and pushed back on the deadlines based on how I understood those tasks.
Another leader called me and asked if I could help them out. They wanted to know how I'd approach a problem and share their approach. After a few minutes, we agreed that either approach was fine, but we had a better sense of what good would look like even if there were no direct paths to achieve it.
The first leader brought tasks for completion. Assuming those tasks are the right tasks to do, it gave me a very clear set of actions to take, and that lets me begin quickly. If I'm successful and those are the right tasks, the leader will further their goals and trust me more. If either of those things doesn't happen, there will be no particular way out. If I cannot complete the tasks within a timeframe they are ok with then they will be frustrated. If they asked for the wrong things and I succeeded in them, they'll have buyer's remorse.
The second leader focused on strategy and goals and wasn't willing to get into the details. This means that while overall, there is a sense of what success looks like, there are no boundaries in place for a successful plan. There is an infinite space for problem-solving left. While that may seem exciting, there are always boundaries, and without knowing them, there can be costly mistakes along with analysis paralysis.
I thought I'd bring these two portraits up because both represent extremes that are also quite common to see in the wild. The leader who only sees the pieces of the puzzle, and the leader only sees the final image of it. We further tend to villanize the first of these and advocate for more of the second. However, I think it's not about one or the other and rather a blend of both.
Some of the best leaders I've met are strategic enough to see that final puzzle but also know what details to know to help everyone make it a reality.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this or what you've seen too.
Here's my weekly update for September 9th, 2022...
I can’t remember when there wasn’t some emphasis on participating in a team—starting back in college when our assignments moved from individual to team assignments and continuing into every single job I’ve had since.
Even when moving into consulting, most consulting agencies prefer to send consultants out as a team.
As I promised in my newsletter (Which you should be reading) I offered thoughts around two books or at least an article series on two topics.
What comes next are the core questions I want to answer in each one.