Having spent a portion of my life in the Navy I have always been intrigued with leadership styles, skills and whether effective leadership can be acquired or whether it is an innate attribute. The fundamental discussion about leadership is: Would you rather be handmade in Germany liked, respected or feared? Coincidently, my interest is around wine tasting room experiences and team building in general.
Before the question is discussed and hopefully answered consider the following discussion points.
· Are good leaders recognized differently within various industries? For example, would a person appreciated as being a good leader in one industry/company, let’s say a company that drills for oil, be a good leader in a software development company? Such considerations are not farfetched as businesses in America reach out for leaders in disparate industries. In this case we are not addressing business sectors but rather industries.
· Culturally, are there different desired leadership criteria applied to women versus men? In a recent article that appears in Yahoo! News, there was a discussion around the special leadership skills of women that are leading companies and their successes. Not surprising, the author was commenting on Ms. Marissa Mayer who is the CEO of Yahoo. E-bay, HP, GM, and IBM, just to name a few others, have women heading up large companies with complex structures.
· Do skill sets have a bearing on who is recognized as a great leader? For example, in industries where the majority of people possess creative skills (art, acting, and music for example), do they have a different standard for good leaders? The music industry would probably put a different set of values on leaders who understood the idiosyncrasies of creative people. Further, there are occasional reports on how various performers (in movies and on stage) are respected, but not liked and might go so far as to be hated. We have just touched upon the concept that leading personalities can be respected but not liked. And, some of those opinions may not be universally accepted within an industry.
· It is obvious that not everyone in an organization will like a leader, no matter what he/she would or could do to ingratiate themselves with their team. These feelings can be rooted in a person’s values, culture, age, work history and the list can go infinitum. Leaders that chase the “wan ‘a-be liked by everyone” theorem will find it to be self destructive; it will never happen.
· As roles within a team change, expect opinions relative to a person’s likability and respect quotient will change. The interpersonal dynamics within an organization are always different when viewed as-employer by employee, and conversely, employee by employer.
· The effort expended within an organization to be liked and respected, can those attributes translate into improvements in the sales effort? Ask in another way: Are sales people more successful by being liked or respected.
· Is charisma part of the leader’s skill set? Charisma does not seem to be as universally accepted or recognized as being liked and respected. It can be a fine line between that and arrogance and disrespect. Mostly, it is a personality trait that can be tenable.
· Can a majority on a team that respects and/or likes their leader influence a minority group in a team who hold their leader in less regards. Intimidation can be the glue that binds in negating opinions of the minority.
Back to the question-as a leader of a team/organization, would you rather be liked, respected or feared? As discussed earlier, let’s discount the use of fear as a leadership tool because once it is used by a leader it is akin to un-ringing a bell. Fear as a leadership style is not a foundation a successful company is built upon by good leaders.