America’s Leadership Expert : Become A Leader

Clay Staires: This is Clay Staires America’s Leadership Expert with Tulsa Business Leadership with podcast number 26, The Four Expression of Leadership. What we’re going to be talking about today in our podcast is how you see yourself leading. It can be so common for people when we talk about leadership.  I get to travel across the country quite a bit as Clay Staires Tulsa Business Leaders, and talk to different business leaders, talk to entrepreneurs, talk to managers about this whole idea of leading and leadership. I have found over and over that people all have a different picture in their minds when I say the word leader. Even thought I’ve got a picture in my mind when I am talking about leadership and the principles of leadership and how to do leadership and the art of leadership, I am fully aware that the picture that is in my mind is probably different then about three-fourths of the people that are sitting out there in the audience.

What we’re going to be talking about is,  America’s Leadership Expert what is your leadership expression? Again, as Clay Staires Tulsa Business Leadership, this is a concept that we work with quite a bit with our business leaders and entrepreneurs in how they see yourself leading, the picture that they get of themselves. I’m just going to say the four different leadership expressions and then I want to go through them one at a time because it’s very important how you see yourself leading. As a matter of fact, I think that, especially here in our American society, it’s very common that if you don’t see yourself as the quintessential leader, the person out front, cutting down trees, pioneering, and leading the way and dictating all of the rules for people, then chances are very good that you cannot even consider yourself as very good leader, when, in fact, you may be a very good leader, you just have a different leadership expression.

Let me go through these four really quick. Again, these are the expressions of a leader. It all kind of boils down to these four. Number one is manager, or to manage. When you see yourself leading, you primarily see yourself managing people. Number two is developing. When you see yourself and hear the leadership principles and read leadership books, you look through it through a filter of developing and training people. Next of all is to care for people, to nurture, to listen and understand. And then, finally, is this idea of leading. The expression of a leader being out front and doing the pioneering. I want to talk about these four expressions of a leader and see if you can discover yourself. See if you can identify yourself in one or two of them America’s Leadership Expert . I do have many people when we go over these four, they’ll come up an say, “Well, Clay, I see myself in all four of those. I’m kind of all of those.” Well, this is a person that has not really realized who the heck they are and probably have not had enough leadership experience to know which of these expressions is truly them.

First of all, let’s talk about the manager, the leadership expression of a manager. This would be someone when they hear leadership, what they think of is order, structure. They think of things all getting into a system. They think of spreadsheets. Ooh, here’s a fun one. When a person that is a leader has a management expression, the picture of a spreadsheet really makes them feel good. If I show them spreadsheets, if show them organizational charts, if I show them work flows … Oh, ho, ho. They love this type of stuff. Budgets … Uh. Managers love this type of picture. However, America’s Leadership Expert  if a person that is in leadership, that has a different leadership expression, looks at those very same pictures, they probably will have a very different response. Again, if these words … Tell me if these words are words that you have an affinity with, if they are words that you really enjoy. Manage, structure, consistency, spreadsheets, rules, order. If these words are words that you really like, when I say them, you don’t throw up in your mouth, how about that? If you like these words, then chances are very good that your leadership expression falls most in line with a manager. When people talk about leadership, you’re not so much thinking that I’m the person out front leading the way, but I am the one that is bringing the rules, the structure, making sure that everybody is doing the same thing.

Next of all, we have the leadership expression of develop. Some words that may associate with develop, words that you may like if you are a developer, would be words like train, teach, equip, mentor, help, to care. These are all words that you would hear and say, “Oh, I really love those words. When I picture myself leading, I see myself being next to people. I see myself being there right next to them helping them belong, reaching out my hand, taking their hand, and helping them move forward.” This is kind of the mindset. This is the expression of a leader that has been wired to develop other people. Again, the idea of commanding and holding people accountable, and holding people to rules and structure and all that kind of stuff, that might not be something that you really gravitate toward, because you would rather come together, come alongside people and walk with them together.

The third expression of leadership is to care. Now, this is probably one of the most misunderstood expressions of leadership. Many people who have a natural wiring of nurturing and care, don’t see themselves as a confident leader. I’m thinking primarily, because here in America we have this idea of the leader is the pioneer. The leader is the one that’s out there in front, cutting down the trees, and blazing the trail. We don’t necessarily picture a leader as being somebody that is caring and nurturing for other people. If this is your expression, then words like care and nurture, words like sharing … You know, that’s a great thing with caregivers, they don’t sit down and talk, they share. Caregivers love to listen. America’s Leadership Expert Caregivers place a strong emphasis on being understood. Caregivers love to have empathy and sympathy with other people. These are all words that if you’re hearing these words, you’re going “Oh, that aligns with my personality.” Then chances are very good that you have been wired as a leader with the expression of care. When you think about leading, the first thing that comes to your mind is the people. We have to take care of the people. Your emphasis, as a leader, is always going to have the people first.

Then finally, we have number four, which, like I said, is the primary expression that we have, probably here in America, of the leader. Okay? The expression of leading in this idea of leadership. This is the pioneer, the person out front, the commander, the person with the vision, the person that everybody is following, the buck stops here. I’m the one in charge. I’m the one dictating. I’m the one commanding. I’m the one in the chair. When you think of a meeting with a bunch of employees, there’s one person standing up that everybody is staring at, you look at that picture and go, “Boom. That’s the person I want to be. The one that everybody is looking at.” If those words resound with you, and if you like those words, then chances are pretty good that your expression of a leader is in the area of lead.

Now, it’s interesting because if you take the manager expression and the leader expression, their primary focus, their primary wiring is to focus on the task, to accomplish, to dominate, to finish, to get the thing done. America’s Leadership Expert That is going to be their primary focus, is the task. However, it’s interesting that the caregiver and the developer, their primary focus is the people. It’s very common to have two leaders in the same organization at the same level of leadership to differ greatly in how they see work getting done and how they see leadership taking place because one always is going to be thinking of the people ahead of the task, whereas the other is going to be thinking of the task ahead of the leader. You always hear this big confrontation going on, “You’ve got to take care of the people. You guys are just like robots.” Of course, the manager and leader are saying, “Well, of course we’re robots. Who cares about the people? It’s all about the task.” People’s arms are thrown in the air and they can’t believe that somebody could be so crass and not think about the people. That’s just how leaders and managers are wired. They are wired to complete the task.

If you send a person that has a leadership expression that’s of caregiving, and they are in the position of a leader, if you send them to fire somebody, uh, it will kill them. They will think about it all the time. They will wring their hands. They won’t get much sleep. They’ll break out in sweat. They will do everything they can to avoid firing that person because they are connecting with that persons emotion. At the same time, if you send a developer to fire somebody, the developer is going to struggle firing that person because they’re going to see all the potential in that person. All the potential that they could develop if they just had more time. Just give me more time. I can create a great employee out of this person. America’s Leadership Expert Do not send a caregiver or a developer to fire somebody. Send a manager. That’s the person you want to send because a manager can walk into the room and say, “Hey, guess what’s happening today? You’re getting fired.” and they can walk out of the room and not get emotional about it.

As Tulsa Business Leadership, I have a couple of clients that have actually used me to come in and fire one or two of their employees because their primary expression has been a caregiver or a developer. Here’s how we’ve set that up. What’s going on is I have walked into the room and I’ve come up to the employee, and the employee knows me. I’m not like the guy walking in with the black hood on my head. These employees know me because I’ve done employee training with them. I walk in and I say, “Hey, just so you know,  today Susie, we are letting you go. Today’s your last day. We’re letting go today. Do you have any questions?” Of course, they look at you and they don’t have any questions. I have yet to have anybody that has had any questions.  I go, “Okay. Just wanted you to know.”

Then I get up and leave the room, but the great thing is, is the business owner, who is a caregiver or developer, is sitting right there and now they can have a conversation with the person, but the firing has already taken place. Again, the reason why they brought me in was because these people had tried to fire these people two, three and even four times, but they just couldn’t get it done. It’s just about their leadership expression. It’s not that they’re bad leaders, America’s Leadership Expert it’s just that they were going against their leadership expression or their leadership personality.

This is Clay Staires with Tulsa Business Leadership with podcast number 26, The Four Expressions of Leadership.

Clay Staires