Bah humbug I say to all of it. Rubbish!!! (Rubbish is my new favorite word…its high end and sort of foreign….say it a few times, you will like it).
The 4 characteristics I see that have maybe taken me further than anything (and the traits I see in great leaders) violate all of this. In fact, no…it doesn’t violate it…that’s too mild. Its 180 degrees opposite of what we are being told.
Is this correct? Yes it is….here they are:
1. Energy – Nothing is more important than people that bring energy and enthusiasm to your workplace. This single thing has probably taken me farther than any other intangible………..so in school I was told to “sit still” and that I was “too rambunctious”. Being rambunctious is really working for me as an adult.
2. Demanding – Leaders that demand a lot out of people will typically lead to not only getting more out of people but also helps those people grow to new heights. I have been told I am very demanding. I have also been thanked by many people later in life when I see them at the Dairy Queen that “you pushed me really hard and I didn’t always understand it, but thanks because you made me better”. In school I was told “you need to get along better and be nicer”. I was always demanding. My mom used to tell the kids on my block that “If David is picking on you that means he likes you”. She was my main defense attorney. Always had my back.
3. Impatient for results – I’m not sure there is any great leader I have ever been around that wasn’t wondering “why isn’t that done 5 minutes ago!?” I don’t know a whole lot of great leaders that don’t drive and push the organization on timelines and shortening how long things take. As a kid I was often reminded to “have patience” and “just chill out”. Fuck that. I want what I want now. Works pretty well from where I observe things.
4. Curiosity – Kids always ask “why” and it gets annoying. I say we should encourage this type of thinking. Faulty thinking is to tell a kid “because I said so”. That is a deflating way to respond and discourages curiosity. In business and as an adult, always challenge (in a good, productive way) and ask the why behind things. Chances are, you’ll get a bad answer and make it better…or get a good answer and learn something.
These four are pretty powerful, don’t you think?
In my experience, some of the things we are teaching young people are the complete opposite of what will make them successful. Why are we doing that?
Isn’t it odd/coincidental that some of these “undesirable traits” are the ones that lead to the most success? Have we not learned this yet?
Think about this the next time you are influencing others. You owe people to tell them YOUR thoughts, not what somebody told you 25 years ago. You’ll be surprised by what you say on “auto-pilot”.