Leadership Style: Springboard

[Part 6 of a 6 part ongoing series] There are many different types of people in the world, and many different types of leaders.  Unfortunately, most do irreparable harm to those they surround themselves with.  But, what are the different kinds of leaders?  What, if anything, can we take from them?  And is there a better approach to leading people?  Take a look. Styles already covered: Lone Wolf , Trophy Hunter, Ringleader , Taskmaster, Pack Leader

I have a good friend who is fond of reminding others that the job of an effective leader is to be a springboard and not a lid.  What he means is this: are we going to be the launching point for others and propel them to success or are we going to be the thing that consistently drags them back down as they hit their head at every attempt to jump?  The thing that each of the above leaders have in common is that they all function in different capacities to be lids for the people under their watch.

The lone wolf caps the growth of those around them by refusing to make the necessary investments in others who may need their input and expertise.  The trophy hunter makes grandiose promises about propelling others to great adventure and success, but ultimately spends more time collecting potential leaders than they ever do developing them. And when their team needs them most, they’re usually unavailable or the team sadly finds out that the grand words are merely shallow platitudes with little actual substance underneath.

The ringleader is mostly interested in relational development, and when push comes to shove, really isn’t all that interested in losing a valued member of his inner circle to other interests- regardless how much of a positive step it is for the other person.  The taskmaster is only looking for the bottom line.  They hold tightly to others while weighing them down with ideas that often make their people feel unworthy of ever being able to branch out at all. They will develop for more efficiency and higher production, but don’t have the well-being and long-term success of their team in mind.

And the pack leader does their best to develop in order to maximize their team to work optimally and efficiently, but is too focused on the success of the project, team, or organization to fully prepare any of their individuals for stepping out on their own.  Unwittingly, they’ve started convincing the entire team that they can’t succeed without the rest of the group.

Enter the springboard.  This leader works very much like the pack leader, but with one huge difference.  It is a common practice in the business leadership world to daily ask the question, “How can I make it impossible for this to fail?”  The springboard takes this question and turns it around.  Instead, they ask, “How can I make it impossible for the people around me to fail?”

The springboard is more concerned with the long-term best interest of every individual they work with than the best interest of any organization or team they represent.  This may appear at first glance counter-intuitive.  But the heart of this mindset has been reiterated throughout the years from J. Willard Marriott to Richard Branson.  Take care of your employees and they will take care of your clients, who will take care of your sales, which will take care of your stocks.

The story goes that one CFO asked the CEO of his company, “What happens if we invest in developing our people and then they leave the company?”  The insightful CEO smiled and replied, “What happens if we don’t and they stay?”  The springboard recognizes both the potential of an individual and takes steps to actualize that into real and true growth.  Not for the sake of making the team or the organization better.  This is just an amazing byproduct of focusing on the person.  By paying attention to the needs of the developing employee, the springboard creates a platform which allows others to learn, grow, develop, and ultimately launch to achieve great things in any area of life.

What do you think? Which leadership style do you identify most with and what steps do you plan on taking to improve to become a better leader?  Let the world know and share your own insights below!

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