Does Your Leadership Style Create Extraordinary People?

Does Your Leadership Style Create Extraordinary People?



Many people claim they deserve to be in a leadership position. In an organization, the top leaders are part of the C-Suite. They are your Chief Executive Officer – CEO, Chief Financial Officer – CFO, Chief Operating Officer – COO, Chief Technology Officer – CTO, etc. The CEO is the chief of the chiefs and the others report to him. In many large companies, there is a board of directors. That board hires and fires the CEO. These are the top leaders of any corporation. They create policy, allocate resources and develop strategies to carry out the enterprise’s mission.


To make it to the C-Suite, you have to have a certain mindset. It is a mindset most don’t have. There are two things most people do not understand about the C-Suite. Yet, they still believe they can function at this level. There lies the dilemma.


The first thing is the idea or image of being a leader. Most people believe leaders exist to tell others what to do. If you are telling your people what to do, either you are a lousy leader or you hired the wrong people. Either way it is the result of leadership skills or lack thereof. Steve Jobs said it best. “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.”


Bob Weissman, the former CEO of Dun & Bradstreet said people should know how to do 90%-95% of their job without support from you. It is that 5%-10% they need support from the CEO or boss.


The second challenge many be a larger obstacle for those seeking a leadership position. That challenge revolves around the need to constantly engage in abstract thinking. Leadership is where possibility comes alive. Possibility starts off as an abstract idea or vision by the CEO. It is the job of the C-Suite members to turn that possibility into reality. Think of John F. Kennedy’s vision to send a man to the moon before the end of the decade. He did not describe how it looks or how it would be accomplished. It was the job of other leaders to do that. Kennedy provided resources and engaged in a strategy to achieve the vision.


Many people become uncomfortable with abstract ideas. They call them theories. And they demand the conversation focus on concrete realities. With that mindset, it would be difficult to survive in the C-Suite.


If you believe it is your job to tell people what to do, you are most likely a micro manager. Micro managers don’t keep high performing people. Those top performers leave. Perhaps executives micro manage because they are unable to think in abstractions. They get into the weeds because the weeds are concrete. Thinking at a high level is visionary. As a visionary, you have to know which people to hire so they are able to transform your vision into a desirable product or service.


If these two ideas make you uncomfortable and you still want to be a leader, it may be time to hire an executive coach. A great coach will help you shed belief systems that sabotage your future as a leader. If you are already sabotaging your business, find a coach immediately. No Olympic athlete competes without one. Why should you?


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