Blog: Of leaders and the directions they take

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Of leaders and the directions they take

While leadership is a trait in itself, the fact is that different leaders exhibit different leadership behaviors. Often this influences the directions they take vis-à-vis their organisations
Of leaders and the directions they take

I had a very engaging conversation with young Vikrant Goyal of Texas Instruments. We were discussing various leaders and the typical directions they would take vis-a-vis their organizations. We identified at least four.


Leaders who move against the organisation: These are the leaders who advocate a point of view, but in doing so they take positions against the system, against the organisation's preferred party line. In the short run, these people are very successful, but they end up getting derailed over a period of time. Organizations also seem to nurture these leaders (perhaps "indulge" is a better word) for some time, but if these leaders do not change directions after some time to move WITH the party line, they seem to tend to get dropped.


Leaders who move towards the organisation: These are the leaders who also advocate a point of view, which may even be against the popular view of the authority system of the organization, but at the end of the day, are careful to not burn bridges with the authority system. These are the ever-vigilant leaders who are like master chess players, they take calculated risks and know when to step on the gas and when to hop off. Like the previously described "against" leaders, these people also take a position that is away from the organization, but they essentially move their position towards the organization and not get entrenched against it.


Leaders who move with the organisation: These leaders toe the line explicitly and implicitly. They tend to openly advocate what the organization does. They play safe and like some golfers, play the "average game"


Leaders who move with but below the organisation: Like the previously described "WITH" folks, these leaders also move essentially with the organization, but they do so in a covert, not-very-visible manner. They tend not to reveal themselves much in public, but in private conversations will tend to be ambassadors for the party-line


Vikrant and I also averred that there are most leaders are "guys in guises", e.g. - a leader may display optics of being a leader moving against, but in reality would be moving towards. Or, a leader may display artifacts of moving towards but may end up actually moving against. And so on ...


It also occurred to us that there are three types of leaders from a different lens - runners, survivors, and the derailed. But more about this later.

Topics: Life @ Work, Leadership, Social Media

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