Have you worked with a person that is a strong leader, charismatic, knows what they are talking about and how to motivate people? …or so it seemed when you first met them? As time went on, and stressful situations occurred their leadership style shifted. If anyone disagreed with them, they had to publicly put them down, call them out, disparage and attempt to discredit them.
I call that sandbox leadership! Just like a group of six year olds playing in the sand, it’s all driven by EGO and a need to justify their actions by making (or attempting to make) everyone else look bad. If you don’t want to play with them in the sandbox then they call you names, make fun of you or bully you. And the show is grander with more fanfare if there are other kids around.
The sandbox leader has a heightened vision of self, and appears to be out of touch with reality. There is always someone else to blame. It’s difficult to relate to them because you may wonder what planet they’re on. But steamroll they must and onward they go, unless and until someone has the courage to challenge them to a showdown.
By contrast, the leaders people typically love are authentic, they observe and listen, they are firm when the situation requires it; compassionate and genuinely care about people. They take full responsibility for their actions and their life. They are role models without striving to be. There is a reason you enjoy working with this type of leader and supporting them—because they come from the heart.
Ego has a need to be right, to fix problems and create new ones if nothing has bubbled up recently. As a leader, letting Ego run the show will get you in trouble more than it will help to advance your career.
The authentic leader uses the gift of observation to listen and understand the team and all of the individual players and earns your trust. Differences of opinion are not threats, but a different perspective to be considered. If a decision needs to be made, they are decisive, (which is often refreshing) they take action, are effective and their teams, personal lives and companies thrive.
What kind of leader are you? Is your leadership style legit, based in authenticity, trust and respect, or are you driven by the need to be right, to defend your position, and win at all costs? Something to consider if you really want to succeed in life.