Leadership is Like a Good Suit

(Or The Fallacy of Leadership Style)

Tux + foam fingerThere are a lot of articles and posts written on the subject of leadership style.  Most of it is based on a faulty premise: you are your leadership style and your leadership style is you.

In other words, people are led to believe that they are defined by their leadership style and they should hone that style into a sharp cutting tool.  However, a sharp tool is not always the best for every job.

“One Style to Rule Them All”

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I was Interview by Jonathan Pritchard (ALWD)

ALWD 008: Leadership Interview with Ken Wrede

I had a podcast interview with Jonathan Pritchard over at A Life Well Designed. Jonathan uses design principles to analyze challenges in life and business, then applies design techniques to find elegant, effective solutions.
(For some reason I had a tough time enunciating, but I hope the messages were clear.)

I enjoyed the interview immensely, thanks Jonathan!

EOM,

Kenneth Wrede

(http://www.alifewelldesigned.com/podcast/alwd-008-leadership-with-ken-wrede/)

Cooperation over Compliance

Cooperation vs ComplianceWhen you are in a position of authority, what is the best use of your time?  How do you get more leadership bang for the buck?

One of my leadership principles is to create a healthy organizational culture.  I think the best way to convey the message is to cultivate cooperation from people instead of enforcing compliance. Continue reading

Why are We Assessing Leadership Roles and Styles?

Personality (0)What is the point of all of it?

Millions of dollars are spent each year on personality assessment tests.  But, nobody can express a clear reason why.

“Two and a half million Americans a year take the Myers-Briggs. Eighty-nine companies out of the US Fortune 100 make use of it, for recruitment and selection or to help employees understand themselves or their co-workers.”[1]

Almost 90% of Fortune 100 companies perform these tests.  This is amazing to me.

I have taken these assessments.  After receiving my results, my first thought always is: interesting, but so what?

I see a lot of commentary and articles on how to assess leadership styles and roles.

  • Are you a democratic leader, authoritarian, or somewhere in between (here)?
  • What is your personality type (FIRO-B, MBTI)?
  • What is your role as a team member (Belbin)?

Are these useful tools?  Can we use them to predict behaviors or successes? Continue reading

Leadership is Like Being a Good Host

Welcome Mat (0)“But they are like family to me!”

You hear this phrase or something like it when people speak about their work relationships.  Hell, I’ve been guilty of saying it in one form or another.  It is sorta sad to think about it, but we often spend more time in the company of our colleagues than we do with our core nuclear family.

But is it really like that, are we really family?

Would we want to be family?

So we’re all one big happy family!  Now what?

Like the saying goes you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family.  The implied premise is that your family has to claim you.  Thus, if we use the family paradigm, it hurts all the more when you have to, for professional reasons, reject an employee.

I think the best attitude to take with your employees is the same you might take if they were guest in your home.  Be their host.  (I don’t mean in a parasite/host relationship sorta way, I know some of you were thinking it.) Continue reading

What Happens When Indiana’s RFRA Supports Marijuana?

Text box, details of vote and signingI called this one.

Back in April 2015, I wrote a long article about my thoughts on Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and its impact in a lot of areas.

One of the points I made was the often used legal phrase “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander” (it would so much cooler in Latin or Greek).

It was probably the intention of the sponsors of RFRA make some gesture of support to their conservative Christian constituency.  But, they could never draft legislation only for Christian based religions, the law had to be written in broad terms.  They didn’t expect the media frenzy that was the result of the passage of the bill.  I have the feeling they weren’t expecting this question…

What would happen when other religions claimed their rights using the RFRA?

Just over a week since the bill went into effect, we are about to find out:

First Church of Cannabis in Indianapolis Files Lawsuit over Marijuana Laws

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Is the NSA Really Your Biggest Problem?

Why do we fear the NSA?Bed Shark (0)

Why do we fear sharks?

Why do we fear anything?

Here’s some context:

  • Shark attacks in 2014: 72 unprovoked attacks with 3 fatalities.[1]
  • A 2006 Time article stated that more than 600 people die annually in the US alone by falling out of bed.[2]

Which should you fear more, the creature whose main potential for attack is within swimming distance of shore in salt water or the item that is the featured item in every single bedroom? Continue reading

When Do You Stop Leading?

Leadership principles and effort (0)

I recently caught a glimpse of a message in one of my professional newsfeeds that posed the question “When do you stop being a leader?”

It is hard to consider it when you are the leader, so my default process has always been to remember my thoughts and feelings when I can observe as a follower.  The influences other leaders, perhaps old bosses, had on you are as valuable as your own leadership experience… I include the negative examples as well as the positive.

If you ever said to yourself “What were they thinking when they said/did/wrote that?”, you hopefully learned from “their” mistakes.

Every inappropriate comment or joke, snide remark, or act of entitlement will be judged by others even if there is never a comment.

So, when does it end?

Basically, never.

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Power – How to be a Cult Leader in 5 Easy Steps!

Persian Cat (4)Although it may seem irresponsible to teach people how to abuse power, I see it all the time.  So, either they are learning on their own or they are following what might be considered “natural behavior”.

Brains are lazy.  That is the natural state.

Making the intellectual effort to leap beyond the simple explanation and accepting a belief is difficult and unnatural.  Courtesy of Bob Carroll, let’s call it the “unnatural virtue”.  It is our natural behavior to attend first to our own needs and to rely on the explanation that is easiest to believe, not necessarily what is true.

In leadership the easiest way to lead is to use power like a weapon.  It may be effective at first, but in the long run things will go bad one way or another.

So… what are the steps to cult leadership and how can we prevent the damage? Continue reading