On Love, Fear, and Building StrengthsIn response to my recent post “Are the Most Effective Leaders Loved or Feared?” I received this e-mail from Becky, RN BSN Quality Improvement Coordinator :

“I love the fear and love regarding leaders that you posted. I am reminded of Jampolsky’s book, “Love is Letting Go of Fear” that I once read with its inspiration and recommended often.

My experience has shown that warmth will get you everywhere … being real is what people relate to, without the need to be the expert at everything. One can always research for clarification.

Allowing staff to grow and offering responsibility — recognizing the strengths of others — builds character, dedication, and loyalty and will turn out leaders to which you may silently smile to yourself that you just might have had something to do with that! I say that a great leader is one who can go on vacation and come back to a clean desk having staff with problem-solving skills and the ability to replace you!

Becky has packed many key leadership truths in her short comment. Here are a few thoughts she triggered:

• Becky’s comment that “warmth will get you everywhere” has a scientific base as shown in “Demanding Leaders Are Much More Effective – and More Likable“.
• Being real is at the heart of strengths-based leadership development. Leaders are much more effective when building on natural strengths rather than focusing on weakness and trying to change who they really are.
• Going on vacation and coming back to a clean desk is a good test of a leader’s ability to develop a team who owns and solves problems rather than the leader defining his or her job as the chief problem solver. See “Breaking the Manager-Employee Dependence Spin Cycle“, “How Many Monkeys Are On Your Back?” and “Monkey Management: Creating Empowerment and Growth“.
Fear and courage is a key theme of my book, Moose on the Table: A Novel Approach to Communications @ Work. At the time of the book’s publication, I blogged “Courage is at the Core of Leadership“. These themes were explored further in “Thoughts That Make You Go Hmmm on … Courageous Conversations” and “A Kid Gives a Lesson in Courageous Leadership“.

In a follow up e-mail Becky explained that her company was just purchased. Everyone is now waiting to see who will have jobs and who won’t. She writes, “Let’s see about practicing what I preach. Others seem to be more concerned than me. I see an open door if this one closes … every thought today creates tomorrow’s reality … mine isn’t fear filled.