No One Right Way To Lead!

“So much of what it takes to be a leader has been historically defined by men,” explains Libby Sartain of Yahoo! Inc. “And while I was determined to be a leader, the last thing in the world I was going to do was to try to be like a man so that I could be taken seriously. I had to continue to be myself and create a leadership style that worked for me. I’m just not capable of being anyone other than who I am.”

I have to say I let out a high big breathe when I read this research by Caliper, one of Moementum’s strategic partners. Of course, this research is specifically targeting the unique stylistic differences women bring to the table as leaders, but to me it provides a lovely reprieve from the notion that there is ONE RIGHT WAY to lead. Differences in culture, background, gender, professional experience, even physical stature make a huge difference in one’s effectiveness at inspiring follower-ship, and partnership.

I am reminded in this work of the importance of knowing oneself, one’s assets and liabilities, ones gifts and inspirations, and one’s habits and nuance as a way of becoming even more effective. How refreshing to looking within first, to one’s natural gifts, as source of competence and impact. The traits that make one person a potent and inspiring leader, and the traits that can derail another person from being effective, are fundamentally about how a leader creates potent partnership with other people. The notion, as Caliper outlines here, that men and women have natural traits of effectiveness that can be observed and used to grow partnership, to inspire greatness, and to get things done by groups, is a delightful one.

Openness, consensus building, and a collegial approach? These sound like assets that make sense for ALL leaders to consider and to practice.

Jim Morris