One-Two Punch of Leaders

leadership-trump-rogers

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.

By Adam McLane

Kristen and Adam live in Ahwahnee, California.

2 comments

  1. wow. what an interesting and balanced concept.

    how do we (as leaders) not be doormats or Mr. T, but yet lead with confidence and humility all while getting the done job with efficiency?

    Adam I am right here with ya. In Christiandom we have the bad cops and the good/too nice cops. How the heck do we play both roles?

    I think it is an art and a skill. I think it comes with a lot of maturity (emotionally and spiritually), wisdom, and experience.
    What should be the ratio of how much we play bad/good cop? 50/50 60/40 30/70? I am not sure.

    I am obviously still trying to figure this one out too. Although I don’t want to be the Donald Trump.
    Also, I am finding that us as leaders need to be the Donald Trump type of leader to the actual Donald Trump leaders. Essentially you have to play into how they lead in order to get their attention.

    The ego-type A personality leaders need you to tell it how it is, which as a result gives you a lot of respect and demonstrates that you can go toe to toe with them and no one is left feeling “offended” or “hurt”.

    In one of the nightly news interview (I think it was ABC, but I am not sure) with Mark Driscol, the interviewer asked Driscol: Some think you are arrogant, how do you respond to that? You should have seen the look on Driscol’s face. It was like a deer in head lights. He simply says out: I think many preachers struggle with this, and everyday I try to be humble. : )

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