This is going to get deep fast, so here we go. Leadership is a complex mixture of vision, ambition, drive, accountability, inspiration, emotions and, without question, fear and trepidation. How this mixture comes together is unique for every leader. This mixture is in a state of constant flux as it’s stirred by the ever-changing nature of business. And just to keep this interesting, it’s the leadership mixture itself that keeps business in a constant state of flux. Are you still with me?
When heavy doses of visionary thinking are added to the leadership mixture, a world of infinite possibilities is revealed. Visionary mode gets a company’s creative juices flowing. It can lift a struggling company out of the fiery pit of hell or take an already successful company to extraordinary new levels. In contrast, when fear and trepidation oversaturate the mixture, a company begins to destroy itself from within. It can’t move forward, so it begins to slide into the unknown until the leadership mixture is adjusted. Are you still with me?
The good news is that you are in control of your own leadership mixture. The bad news is that most leaders don’t know how to effectively control it.
Here are some no-compromise strategies to control your leadership mixture in ways that produce dynamic growth:
- Take a taste: Right now, this very instant, what does your leadership mixture taste like? If it doesn’t taste good to you, then it does not taste good to those you lead. And if you’re doing the “Why can’t people just do their jobs?” thing, it’s your leadership mixture that needs adjusting – not everyone else’s. So go on, take another heaping spoonful – and don’t you dare spit it out. Swallow it. If it makes you sick, then it’s making your company sick too.
- Analyze it: What are the predominant ingredients driving your leadership thinking and behavior? Too much of any one ingredient for too long can do serious damage to a company. If your leadership mixture is dominated by too much visionary thinking, chances are nothing is getting done. Vision is pointless without execution. Too much accountability without enough inspiration can demoralize an otherwise dynamic group of people. Find the predominant ingredients in your leadership mixture and you’ll find what drives your company’s growth, what’s holding it back or what’s killing it.
- Adjust it: If your leadership mixture didn’t taste good and it’s dominated by too much of what it doesn’t need right now, adjust the mixture. If fear and trepidation dominate, you probably need to add a healthy dose of vision and innovation to reveal new possibilities. Maybe you need to add a dose of reality to shock you into taking action – like a heart attack gets a smoker to quit. The key here is the willingness to adjust your leadership mixture to match what your company needs right now.
- Keep tasting and adjusting: As I wrote earlier, your leadership mixture is in a state of flux. You have the ability to control it. Keep adjusting and fine-tuning. When you get it just right, savor it. But to keep it perfect, your leadership mixture will need perpetual adjusting.
True no-compromise leaders take responsibility for and control of their leadership mixture. They work at keeping it just a bit ahead of where their companies need to go. And they are forever aware that it is their leadership mixture that influences their company’s ability to achieve the extraordinary.
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Neil Ducoff, Founder & CEO of Strategies and author of No-Compromise Leadership
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