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Leadership is not for the faint of heart. To be a leader, you've got to have a willingness to tackle the hard issues and engage in the difficult conversations. You must have a backbone if you want your people to take you seriously. You need conviction and courage in the face of uncertainty. In short, you've got to be tough.
Because of these demands, we often have the perception that leaders need to be harsh. We hear stories of folks like Steve Jobs, who was fantastic at motivating people and getting things done but frequently came across as abrasive and dismissive of other peoples' feelings. And now the Republican nominee for President has a reputation for being straightforward and blunt, scoffing at "political correctness" and taking pride in "telling it like it is."
I'm going to give a little bit of pushback on this mindset. While I do think leaders need to be tough, I don't think that means they need to be bullies. If you've really got quality people working for you, they won't need demanding overlords and merciless taskmasters; rather, they need guidance. They need your inspiration and your encouragement. If your team is filled with people who need to be bossed around in order for them to accomplish anything, then perhaps you haven't done your part in building a solid team.
My advice: Be strong, but be respectful. You can get results, and often better results, by gently nudging your people rather than berating them and making them feel small. So, what do you think? Which leadership style do you see as more effective?
David Lykken, a 43-year veteran of the mortgage industry, is president of Transformational Mortgage Solutions (TMS), a management consulting firm that provides transformative business strategies to owners and “C-Level” executives via consulting, executive coaching and various communications strategies. He is a frequent guest on FOX Business News and hosts his own weekly podcast called “Lykken On Lending” heard Monday’s at 1:00 p.m. ET at LykkenOnLending.com. David’s phone number is (512) 759-0999 and his e-mail is [email protected].