I am a big fan of the TV show Shark Tank. The five entrepreneurs on the tank each exhibit their unique brand of leadership and some of them resonate with me while others don’t. It got me thinking about the leaders I have personally worked with in the past who resonated with me while others left me less than inspired. So which of the sharks would you want to work with and why?
For me it comes down to values first and experience second. There are times when I am surprised, when a contestant has the opportunity to choose between sharks for their investors and business partners, and then makes the choice to go with someone I would never consider partnering with.
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So what are the values you look for in a leader? What draws you to one leader versus another? Personally I first look for humility. There is no bigger turn off to me than arrogance. Arrogance can cause the inability to see opportunities because of the belief of knowing all. The next thing I look for is courage. Leaders who have courage will make the difficult decisions, which may have negative personal consequences. This quality is becoming rarer and rarer. And finally, I look for a person who has the ability to balance care of others over the discipline of accountability. Too often the leaders have difficulty with understanding the personal and emotional side of those they lead while creating a culture of accountability. It is what I call the “hard yet fair” balance.
The few times that I have been privileged to work with leaders who have these qualities have provided lasting relationships. In fact just recently, I reconnected with my first manager who I hadn’t seen in almost 25 years! The visit was a reminder of how much I truly was engaged while working with him.
As a leader, what are you doing today that will create a positive lasting impact on your employees?