I’m sitting in a meeting with several people and Leader #1.
Leader #1 is clearly someone who motivates others to act through love and kindness, by asking inspired questions, then empowering others with the ability to solve their own problems.
He asked everyone around the table… “What are the problems that will risk the success of this implementation?” After two or three gave their answers, he then asked, “What are you going to do to solve these problems?” He put the burden on this team of individuals because the problem hurt them more than the organization that was officially tasked with the solution. He said “you can’t wait on them to act. You must act for yourselves.”
Toward the very end of this meeting, Leader #2 entered the room. Everyone went silent as he proceeded to dive deep into the details offering prescriptive solutions for even the minutest issues. There were no inspired questions (actually no questions at all) and there was no empowering of others to find their own solutions. In fact, Leader #2 gave direction on what was to be done.
Both leaders were very successful in their professions, especially Leader #2 who had obtained significant wealth. However, the silent tone of the room when Leader #2 entered and began to talk said more than words could ever explain.
Leader #1 and Leader #2 had different professional training and were raised differently as youth. Both made significant contributions to the companies they worked for and owned. I wondered what difference it makes, at the end of the day, as to how a leader leads his people. I concluded that there are many successful leadership styles that can make individuals and companies successful.
So, does it really matter whether you lead with love and kindness, or through intimidation? The answer is, yes. The leader who leads with love and kindness inspires the team to take ownership and responsibility without being hammered or without fear of criticism or discipline. They act out of love for their leader. They do it on their own because they want to, and because they are engaged and feel empowered ownership. The results of the team become personal to them, and because they want to make their leader successful. Leaders who intimidate (by design or simply as a by-product of their leadership style) achieve results driven by fear. Productivity is high only when that leader is present. Team members of this leadership style are afraid to fail driving creativity downward. The loving and kind leader creates a culture that is built to last and endure market challenges, whereas the intimidating leader creates a reactionary culture that eventually will fail.
So, which leader are you?