I’ve been thinking about leadership a lot lately as I reflect on the type of leader that I tend to follow. More to the point, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the type of leader I aspire to be.
Let’s start with what I hate.
I hate the Donald Trump-type of leader.The ego driven type A-aholics that thrive on their own power. As Trump himself has proven time and again, it is a losing style of leadership. Trump’s leadership style is bankrupt across many layers.
I hate the Mr. Rogers-type of leader. These leaders are so afraid of expressing their will on an organization that their team feels unlead. These leaders make you feel good but often lead failing organizations. This leadership style makes you feel good but fails to produce results.
Rather than go any further into this metaphor, I’ll get to the point. The type of leader I love and aspire to be is actually a combination of both. When I look at the landscape of “what’s wrong with leadership” I often see one type of leader or the other leading an organization. But I think it’d be more healthy if organizations intentionally had a little of both. You need a strong leader to get things done and cast vision. But you also need people who are insanely compassionate. And since it is nearly impossible to be both Donald Trump and Mr. Rogers… I think the best style of leadership is to have both.
It’s way better to have the tension of plural leadership than it is to fail.
Observation #1: Women seem to be better at this than men. I’m not one of those Christian men who buys into the lie that men are better leaders than women. I’ve got too much experience with excellent female leaders to believe that for a second. I’m astonished that churches openly discriminate against women who are strong leaders… but that’s another post for another day. I am not saying that men can’t do this, I’m just observing that when it comes to sharing leadership for the strength of the team… my experience has shown me that women do it easier than men.
Observation #2: The best leaders have an equal and opposite sidekick. I jokingly refer to this as “Good cop, bad cop.” I’ve played both roles in leadership… but it’s way more fun to be good cop. When this works well it gets an insane amount of stuff done. It’s an efficiency machine!
Observation #3: Everyone is happier with a one-two punch of leaders. Ultimately, there is the boss. But having a one-two punch of leaders allows people of various personality types to have someone to gel with.
Application: I’m still working through this. Let me know your thoughts.