I was recently asked to share my leadership style. Immediately, my brain started to conjure up all the strong, inspirational words, some of which are already running through your mind: Authentic, transformational, servant leader, coaching, results-focused, passionate, purpose-driven … the list went on in my head for several minutes.
As I was making this long list, I decided I should think about this in a slightly different manner; what if I put myself in several business scenarios and give myself a label of leadership for each of those scenarios? I tried doing that for a bit and was honestly surprised by the consistent theme that emerged. I was surprised because the theme was not your typically definition for leadership styles; it was nothing that I had read about or researched. This theme was nothing that I had ever identified as a strength or style in any of my personal development plans or feedback from my mentors, performance reviews, or peers.
I know it may sound a little crazy, but I was a bit nervous about that. It scared me just a little. How could it be that this style had gone unnoticed for all these years? Was I missing out on leveraging some unknown strength that I possessed? Did I just create a new leadership style that will win me a Nobel Prize (unlikely)?
The consistent leadership theme that I found for myself was simple: DON’T BE A JERK. That’s it, don’t be a jerk. That’s not really profound or even interesting to write about. What does that say about my leadership style? How does this play into my cultural framework and overall purpose?
As I contemplated this newly defined leadership style, my brain began to synthesize this and it did begin to make sense. So many leaders today create authority by making demands, being pushy, and sometimes just being the loudest person in the room. For me, that is not at all my style; I aim to treat everyone with the same level of inclusive respect, equality, and fairness. The way I began to interpret that style came out in the words, don’t be a jerk. I’m actually really proud of that leadership style. I consider myself to be relatively successful in my career to-date and I have done so by not being a jerk. That makes me happy!
What about you and your leadership style? Can you related to the concept of “don’t be a jerk” or is that foreign to your leaderships style? What do you think: is that even a real leadership style?