I woke up one morning with an awful memory of the most negative, hard to please, fast-paced-without-logic-or-specialized-marketing-knowledge-or-metrics boss I’ve ever had. My pervasive thought was: “You, sir, are the antithesis of a leader.” (Essentially, someone who does not understand leadership vs. management–the differences between them and why it matters.)
The internal dialogue continued. “Although you may be deemed by some as a good manager, mostly from the ability to be hard-driving and cost-conscious (aka cheap), to me that’s not management at the level of leadership.” With that said, I brushed off the negative feeling and got on with my day.
That week, I found an old SmartBrief on Leadership in my email. Oddly enough, two posts’ headlines, “Generosity is the real marker of a good boss” and “Sometimes slowing down is the best way to reach your goals,” seemed to summarize to my beef with the former boss perfectly. (And reminded me of my value: #goslowtogofast.)
Essentially, when you care about connecting with people (a requirement for generosity and extraordinary leadership according to Dan Rockwell, The Leadership Freak) and are mindful about your speed and the unnecessary pressure you create as a result (especially when you’re operating with the “Ready-Fire-Aim” approach Allan Milham advises against), you can lead more effectively.
In my experience, you can’t have effective strategy execution without the kind of capable leaders defined in these articles. Drilling down, all the marketing effectiveness and external brand strength in the world won’t help (it will actually be a waste of money) if the culture (as defined by leadership) does not support it.
Finally, a culture can retain competitive advantages–one of which can be leadership!–by being generous with people and calculating about its efforts (thanks to the power of that pause). This is why I look holistically at businesses, to help leaders maximize all their efforts–through aligning all these aspects. And why I advocate having executive teams that are committed to building brand and culture at once.